Laneway 2020 in Sydney: soaking wet and as epic as ever

Laneway Festival’s epic reputation remains intact after the 2020 edition, despite the fact that we kicked off the Sydney leg in the sweltering heat and wrapped up soaked in mud. Over its some 15 years of operation, Laneway has grown from being a boutique taste-making event to a full blown, multi-stage touring festival.

This year’s venue had migrated to the more inner city locale of The Domain, ending its 10 year stint at the charming Sydney College of the Arts. Around midday, the air was already full of electricity. Thunderstorms were forecast for later in the afternoon but as I approached clad with a stack of camera gear and a comparatively small back pack, I sat in strong denial of this.

dani hansen st jerome's laneway festival sydney the 1975
Photos: Dani Hansen

Despite a heavy serving from the weather gods, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Sydney delivered an epic day and a score of world-class performances.

I kicked off the day with exceptional Perth darlings Spacey Jane before doubling-down with local crew Pist Idiots. I stood in disbelief at Oliver Tree who somehow jumped and cartwheeled all over the stage in full ski gear, sans skis, in 30-degree heat.

The Chats pulled an expectedly massive crowd and a tight set before we copped an unexpected second earful of Pist Idiots at the packed Jameson House of Rounds bar.

It was back and forth between the stages for Last Dinosaurs, Omar Apollo and Hockey Dad before landing on a full set from DMA’s – always a pleasure. As soon as Ruel hit the Garden stage though, the downpour began. While photographers scattered, the crowd remained undeterred and settled in for one of the most epic sets of the day.

Last minute lineup addition Cub Sport was warmly welcomed by a drenched crowd. While I found a spot to dry my cameras, unfortunately missing King Gizzard and Stella Donnelly, I managed to catch Charli XCX before making a beeline for J.I.D at the Future Classic stage.

Finally, the moment probably most of us had been waiting for arrived as The 1975 hit the main. Frontman Matt Healy stumbled out in a sheer hospital gown and fake IV drip, jibing at the band’s missed set in Brisbane due to Healy’s poor health. He seemed in fine spirits tonight though, as he packed each moment with that Healy charm, the crowd lapping up every second.

Finally the rain eased up enough to catch some of Earl Sweatshirt’s long-awaited closing set.

Suss the visual highlights below.