Laneway Festival 2011

A wheelchair proves no impediment to crowd surfing at Melbourne Laneway Festival

Last weekend I wrapped up one of the best photo assignments i’ve ever had as official photographer for the Laneway Festival.

I’ve shot Laneway every year in Sydney since its first time there in 2006 and i think it’s the best festival in Australia, and I don’t just say that because they have the good sense to employ me.

I’ve been the official photographer for events like this before but going on the road with a show like this is something way more special. There’s a camaraderie that only comes from those shared late nights and early flights and the familiarity bred from seeing the same crew at every show. The bands, the crew, the punters – everyone was in fine spirits. It really was a privilege to be a part of.

I photographed the shows in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth and in each city i recruited a second local photographer to shoot with me too. They were Elleni Toumpas, Leah Robertson, Nikki To, Rodney Magazinovic and Anthony Tran and they all did splendid work.

Screenshot of the Laneway Festival Photos website

One of the things i’m most proud of as a result of the tour is the building of a special website to share all the photos i and the other photographers took. The Laneway Festival Photo site presents all the photos in a large 960 pixel wide format and you can browse by various categories.

The single column wide photo format was first popularised by sites like The Big Picture which showcases exceptional photojournalism. Then last year i noticed British photographer Andrew Kendall began to publish photo mini-sites with a similar format for UK festivals like Secret Garden Party and Offset.

Those sites were built using a platform Andrew developed called Digital Photo Gallery and i could tell it was a nifty system for presenting photos online and managing them behind the scenes. It was designed and built by a photographer who understands how we work and how our work is best displayed.

It’s still invite only until Andrew polishes things up for a bigger user base but i’m hooked already and it’s something i’ll be using for more sites in the future. Maybe even my first ever portfolio site.

But anyway – on with the Laneway photos. Here’s some of my highlights, you can see way more on the Laneway Festival Photo site.

Violent Soho in Brisbane

Brisbane boys Violent Soho were the heaviest band on the bill and made for some great photos as they thrashed around and whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

A Violent Soho fan

Violent Soho in Perth

Another loud and heavy band on the bill who made for fun photo times were Les Savy Fav.

Tim from Les Savy Fav makes out with a girl in the crowd while Lindsay McDougall looks on with approval

Les Savy Fav

!!! in Brisbane

Another act with a great live show was !!! with frontman Nic Offer spending much of his time off the stage dancing with the crowd.

!!!

!!! frontman Nic Offer supported by the Sydney crowd

Two Door Cinema Club

The band who probably drew the biggest and most fanatical following of the tour was Two Door Cinema Club.

Two Door Cinema Club play in Sydney

Two Door Cinema Club in Perth

In Perth the Francis St stage was overlooked by a backpacker hostel filled with backpackers getting a great free view out their window. I thought it could make a good vantage point for a photo so i left the festival grounds and went exploring in the hostel, knocking on random doors. The first room i was welcomed by a friendly group of Irish lads, but their window looked into a tree. I tried their neighbours and was greeted by some English backpackers who had a great view over the stage.

A guest at Perth's Old Swan Backpackers Hostel gets a free view of the stage

Warpaint

Warpaint

Warpaint's Aussie drummer Stella Mozgawa

Warpaint

The Antlers play on Melbourne's River Stage

Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox

Yeasayer

Cut Copy

Cut Copy's Dan and Tim get cosy on the stage floor

Cloud Control on Perth's Museum Stage

Jenny and Johnny

Beach House

Foals

Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis plays in the crowd

The Sydney crowd watching Foals

I can often get bored of shooting the bands and so turn my attention to photographing the rapturous fans enjoying the show.

Brisbane crowd

Adelaide crowd watching Yeasayer

Brisbane crowd watching Warpaint

Brisbane crowd watching Two Door Cinema Club

The Adelaide crowd dances to Cut Copy

As well as the crowd shots i also got some one on one portraits with punters. Laneway draws some interesting looking characters so it was opportune to get their picture.



Many more photos to see on the Laneway Festival photo site.

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