Review with PHOTOS: St. Jerome's Laneway Festival 2018

The War On Drugs performing at Laneway - Photos by Stella Gardiner

The War On Drugs performing at Laneway - Photos by Stella Gardiner

By Poppy Tohill

Date / Venue: Monday January 29th, 2018 - Albert Park, Auckland

Tell us a better way to spend Auckland Anniversary weekend than at the one and only Laneway Festival? A summer tradition that has held its own for many people since the festival first made its way to Auckland back in 2010. While last year saw the relocation of the beloved festival to its new home of Albert Park with an increased number of improvements including large areas of grass and shade, this year was bigger and better, still. The festival seemingly fitting into Albert Park for a second year, quite comfortably.

With soaring temperatures close to 30 degrees, the hottest in our remembrance of Laneway history, you could almost say it was the trees and the shade they provided that saved the 13,000 strong crowd from totally melting away. As for the toilets and food options - a highly important element to any festival, that most seem to struggle with nailing, were nothing short of fantastic, with the lack of lines for both amenities being both surprising and appreciated by all.

Featuring a stellar line up of of nearly 30 bands and artists both national and international acts, let’s break this down into stages.


While there were some minor technical difficulties on the Rotunda Stage causing sound issues for the likes of Billie EilishThe Internet and Andersan Paak, particularly for those watching further back, each artist professionally powered through their sets certainly not failing to pull big crowds who weren’t afraid to dance up a storm and get their sweat-on.


Sylvan Esso, Conan Mockasin and Badbadnotgood all lit up the Fountain stage, each bringing their own sense of unique personalities and talents to the stage under the natural amphitheatre  which offered a nice point of difference from the two larger, Princes Street and Thunderdome stages.


Staying true to the Laneway algorithm of being a festival that showcases artists on the rise, the Thunderdome stage was the masterful leader in offering an array of local and international acts that one should keep an eye on. Hot newcomer BAYNK was given the chance to close out the stage with a high energy set in the evening that included his hits Poolside, and a special appearance from NIKA who features on his track, What You Need, a definite favourite amongst the party-crowd. Local punk rockers Die! Die! Die! , soul-singer Noah Slee and  Los Angeles DJ and producer Tokimonsta were also obvious favourites amongst the crowd.


Saving the biggest of Laneway’s four stages to last, the Princes Stage appeared the place to be a lot of the time. Offering great sound, stage visibility and best of all, a great portion of shade, the other highlight was of course the vast number of crowd favourites and larger international names that graced the stage. Gold Coast indie pop superstar Amy Shark whose set despite being earlier in the day still attracted a keen and dedicated crowd of excited fans that continued to grow in size by the minute. London alt-rockers Wolf Alice, Canada’s beloved indie hero Mac Demarco and the Best Rock Album Grammy winners of 2018, The War On Drugs, also delivered extraordinary and unforgettable performances, not forgetting our very own local favourite Aldous Harding, whose captivating performance to a quieter and more concentrated audience is unlikely to be forgotten.

If this year was anything to go by, the good times and good vibes of Laneway are clearly not going anywhere anytime soon and long may they live on!