Grimes / Alvin Ho / Laneway Festival
I’m rummaging the wardrobe for a straw hat, ripped denim jeans, and an authentic ’80s Megadeth t-shirt. Yes, I need to be a hipster and navigate millennials this weekend.
But the scrappy outfit is not enough for me to blend in completely. Which is why I’m also practising my slow chin-scratch and pondering frown. I need to appear deep when making conversation with semi-words like “totes”, “lit” and “AF”.
Chvrches / Aloysius Lim / Laneway 2016
I intend to memorise the names of 20 different craft beers. I’m also gonna learn a few Ukulele chords, and some Sylvia Plath poems, by tonight.
Some of you know me as the guy who has edited and written for newspapers and magazines. What you might not know is that I like throwing myself into new experiences. Such as pairing everything I do with wine.
Purity Ring / Cliff Yeo / Laneway 2016
Fermented grapes are the nectar of life. Vino lubricates life. Wine is like noise-cancelling headphones for stress. You hear more of the music, less of Satan.
Wine is a great leveller. Lingering self-esteem issues become manageable. People are more tolerable. Your student loan problems vaporise. The more you sip, the more travel goals appear achievable.
I don’t apologise for appropriating what hipsters do. Hipsters are generally good people who spend too much on haircuts, vinyl and avocado toast.
The 1975 / Alvin Ho / Laneway 2016
They have amazing taste in interior design and music. They collect things no longer found in museums. They’re more than willing to make coffee and help out at farmer’s markets. And they drink goats’ milk aggressively.
Which leaves more wine for me.
That’s why I’m telling you that this weekend’s hottest ticket is the St. Jerome Laneway Festival (Jan 21st, Saturday).
Now, we all know what having “a great time at a music festival” means.
1) The sweater weather is perfect.
2) The beautiful stage looks like something out of a children’s colouring book. Very Instagram worthy.
3) The sound from the stage is so good you can hear every instrument.
4) The bands are in a jubilant mood and rocking out in great form.
5) Everyone around you is nice-smelling and well-mannered. They have all left their mobile phones at home. They make space for you on the festival grounds.
Hey, a dude can dream.
Now I’ll like to draw on the experience of having attended at least 500 concerts and festivals. I’ve developed a code for fun at festivals. And here’s how you can have a great outing this Saturday at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival.
1) Don’t Ruin Your Shoes (No, Really, Don’t)
Leave your $500 Hypebeast limited drops at home. You’ll do a much better job showing them off on Instagram.
Laneway is an outdoor event, dress like you’re prepared for a heat stroke or a small flood. It will get muddy.
Pull out your trashed Converses for a higher hipster rating. So you know — Vans are back on trend now.
2) Leave The Selfie Sticks At Home
Have you ever been stabbed in the ribs with a selfie-stick? That jolt of pain shoots can cause blackouts.
Selfie-sticks are often used by people with no sense of personal space. Don’t be that person.
Dress light, move like a breeze, and carry a small bottle of water. Bring a small towel to wipe the glow of perspiration.
3) Bring An Appetite
The St. Jerome Laneway Festival is getting a reputation as “the one with the best food”.
Full of Luck Club – Har Jeong Gai Burger
Just look at the glorious list of munchie vendors on Saturday — Food trucks. Korean fried chicken. Refreshing popsicles. Ramen. British pub food. Salted egg yolk baos. Tapas. Gourmet tacos. Grain and acai bowls. Not to mention sausages, kebabs and suckling pig.
The Black Hole Group – Ribena Wings
The Black Hole Group
Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King
The Banyan Tamarind Foods
I don’t know about you, but reading that last paragraph made me hungry.
4) Don’t Worry About The Music
Don’t fuss about it. At the rate bands are popping up, we’re lucky if we can spell three of the bands’ names. Or name their last EP.
I never understood why most people feel they would only enjoy a live gig if they knew ALL the words to the songs. Where is the element of surprise? Why not stay home to loop the CD?
But let me say Nicky Murphy, Clams Casino and Jagwa Ma are icing on the cake on a legit list of musicians and performers.
Let the music marinate without disdain or judgement, and just be present. Enjoy it. Even if some of it is pre-programmed, auto-tuned, and synthesised.
A festival is about expression, no matter the format or tools. Check out the LanewaySGFest playlist on Spotify for an audio primer on the best bands.
5) Be Social (For A Few Hours)
Remember, the person most responsible for you having a good time is — guess what — you.
Smile. Be patient while you queue for food and drinks. Help the process by bringing cash.
Make space on festival grounds. Have a good conversation with someone interesting. Hang with your mates, yet spread friendly vibes around. That bright energy will come bouncing back.
Finally, put the phone away and actually watch the bands, then applaud generously. They are showmen, they will love it, no matter how aloof they look.
You’ll probably leave before the last song to catch your Uber rides, but keep it orderly.
The St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival is happening this Saturday, Jan 21, at The Meadow, Gardens By The Bay, from 10am to midnight. Tickets from $185 are available at Sistic ($200 if you get them at the door).