First time’s the charm

Oakland’s campus was flooded with concert-goers Saturday, Sept. 14 as the home for the stateside debut of St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival.

An estimated 7,500 attendees trekked the grounds near Meadow Brook Music Festival, moving between five stages rotating two dozen artists.

St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival began in Melbourne, Australia in 2004 and had added other Australian destinations almost annually. This year marked the first visit from the festival on the western hemisphere.

“When we first heard ‘Laneway’, we thought we were going to Australia!” New York-based Haerts lead singer Nini Fabi said to a growing crowd when they opened the show around 1 p.m.  “We’d rather be here, though.”

The inaugural year’s lineup’s foundation was indie rock, with headlining anchors Sigur Rós and The National, but it had features across the spectrum, including electronic and hip-hop artists on the bill.

Even with two large stages planted side-by-side without ever having a long lull between sets, the biggest draws of the day were under the Meadow Brook pavilion, where new bands like Chvrches and Icona Pop performed during the afternoon. Sigur Rós took the stage after the sun went down for their performance.

“I was very impressed with the quality, organization and spectacle of this festival,” said Brandon Hartley, senior in cinema studies. “The turnout to this and other Detroit festivals is proof that Detroit is itching for more music festivals.”

With officials for Laneway stating they’re signed up for two more years in Detroit, students are hopeful that the festival will make Meadow Brook a permanent home.

“The grounds for the festival were the nicest I’ve ever been to. You never really had to move or walk too far,” said Amy Jachulski, senior in education. “I got to sit on a hill and watch the sunset, listening to Frightened Rabbit. It was pretty much a perfect moment.”

While there were some technical difficulties during sets by Deerhunter and Washed Out on the Roscoe stage, the rest of the day went according to plan.

“I loved hearing all the artists comment on how beautiful (Meadow Brook) was,” said Chelsea Errante, 22 from Lake Orion.

Laneway’s presence is much needed good press for Oakland’s campus, according to Hartley.

“I think (hosting Laneway again) would bring a lot of business to the community, along with getting our campus’s name out there,” he said.

While the festival did have local artists and food vendors on site, including award-winning Clarkston Union, the main focus was always on the music.

“After this weekend, I really felt proud of being an Oakland University student,” Hartley said.