Last month, Sydney turned down its over-regulated way of life (for a day) and turned the music up a notch. The beautiful sandstone surroundings of Sydney's College of the Arts became a haven for fun, sweat and sunburn. With a few brilliant music performances thrown in for good measure, of course.

I'd like to begin by confessing that I missed Grimes. It's a regret of mine, but with the number of hideous line-up clashes, something like this was bound to happen. Beach House played the same time as Flume, Big Scary and Shamir, Purity Ring and Hudson Mohawke - the list goes on. It was a day spent watching only half of most sets, but it was a day well spent.

One of the best ways to suss out a festival crowd is to see how busy it is early doors. If you're dedicated enough to be up and at 'em on a Sunday morning, then you probably care a bit about the music. Fortunately, Sydney's Laneway Festival was buzzing by 12.30, as people stood patiently waiting for one of the first sets of the day - Methyl Ethel.


The Perth band are hot property at the moment, and with good reason. I for one have become a little obsessed with their sun-drenched psych pop. It's got the funk, the lyrics, and it's been perfected with just enough spaced-out instrumentals for live shows. Frontman Jake Webb brings with him a healthy dose of confidence and intrigue, at points resembling the theatrics of Pond's Nicholas Allbrook (albeit a little more subtle). Fully engaged, the crowd were suitably excited to hear their most popular track 'Twilight Driving'. This band is most certainly set for bigger stages, later set times, far from the land of Oz.

Speaking of class, the second set of the day was also a standout performance - Canada's Majical Cloudz. What is it about Canadian's that is just so goddamn likeable? From the moment the duo hit the stage, lead singer Devon Welsh remained beautifully awkward. His body language might have been jarred, but his banter with the crowd was second to none. The crowd was enthused by the endearing performance and he expressed his gratitude back, "'Thank you, yes, I appreciate your enthusiasm... This song's for you, and for you too." I admire every artist for standing on stage and being brave enough to undress their creativity in such an exposed manner. But when the lyrical content is so raw, it wins them another ten brownie points, "I will be honest, I am afraid of love." As his vocals drifted well beyond the sunshine, he cracked a few jokes, and likely a few tears too.

Majical-Cloudz Reading-paper

Not being a huge fan of DMA's, I opted to watch their set from afar. There's a lot of hype, and they're musically a very good band. But I just can't get into it. Maybe one day, because judging by the size of the crowd, there's a lot to be excited about.

By this point my skin was two shades pinker and the cider was acting more as a form of hydration than intoxication. Never fear, the sunscreen is here. When I revealed my sunscreen from my handbag, several strangers appeared requesting they borrow some. It was all in as we shared a special moment of bonding over sun smarts.

Suitably sun safe for the magic Brooklyn's DIIV were about to deliver, we wormed our way to the front for a head wobble and a toe tap. It was the perfect transition into the late afternoon as they delivered on their fuzzed-out surf rock. The fluro yellow guitar was a nice touch too.

DIIV DMA Rowdy-boys

It was back down to the two main stages to catch New York's The Internet, where '90s R&B was brought back to life for just a short while. Talk about charisma - lead singer Syd tha Kyd has all the moves, all the banter and all the love. The entire hill was packed by this point, enjoying a modern set strangely dipped in nostalgia. At one point, it was so hot, the sun had damaged one of their laptops, "Wow, the sun bleached your computer screen - that's weird."

Welcome to the month of February in Australia. Some say hot, I say hell (unless you're at the beach). With that in mind, we followed the crowds and sought out some shade. Shade that was conveniently placed by numerous delicious food vendors.

The-Internet Shade Hermitude

It wasn't long before we were drawn towards the sea of people losing their shit to Hermitude. Again, I'm not a mass fan but there's definitely something about them. It's pretty much the epitome of the Australian music scene at the moment; the deep bass, lots of synth and some sweet vocals - very Flume (but not quite Flume). That said, they finished with 'The Buzz' which is a very good track and an obvious crowd pleaser.

Now for one of my favourite sets of the day, HEALTH. I could literally sit and watch their bassist swirl his luscious locks all day long. Well probably not, but accompanied with the mesmerising music - HEALTH have a knack for forcing you to become fully immersed in their sound. I'd lost the crew to this set, they'd opted for Violent Soho. But what better set to end up at by yourself; in a state of dark electronic hypnosis. The LA band were enthralling, and perfectly set the scene for Beach House and Purity Ring who were to follow.

From this point on things got a little chaotic, there were so many great bands playing at similar times that it was too hard to do it all. So instead, we strolled around catching what we could of the people we really wanted to see. On the outskirts of the crowd for Vince Staples, it was wild. He played the Red Bull x Future Classic Stage and it simply wasn't big enough. That didn't stop Staples though, his energy was off the scale and worked that little stage like a pro.

Passing through to catch a glimpse of the always blissful Beach House, and one song from Chvrches, we wound up at the Park Stage for Flume. He really has become Australia's golden child, move over Kylie - Flume has taken the reigns. As you stood at the top of the hill and looked down over the crowd (90% of the festival), you almost had to catch your breath. The light show, the enthusiasm, it was a real spectacle. We fought our way to the middle to soak up the atmosphere. Highlight would be Vince Staples' appearance for 'Smoke & Retribution' - gotta love a collaboration.

Sweat and sunburn aside, Laneway put on yet another carefully curated show in 2016. Being stuck on the other side of the world, you become very grateful for folk like Laneway. They always deliver on the line-up, bringing some of the best artists in the world to the Southern hemisphere and supporting great Aussie acts too.

Flume Fashion Sunburn Shamir Team Bieber-tee