I don’t get to Auckland for very many gigs – once or twice a year if I’m lucky – it takes a lot of planning (and saving) usually. But since I was in Auckland making my debut on Waiheke Island (and there to do some book research and other work) I realised I just happened to be there at the exact time of the Laneway festival. The last time I went to Laneway was the first time; the very first version of when the festival hit NZ (it was problematic, cramped, sound-bleeds, but I did get to see Daniel Johnston!)
So I made a simple request for a reviewer-pass to go to Laneway and write it up. There are no simple reviewer-pass requests. Not these days. I jumped through the hoops of posting a hype-preview and sharing the timetable and posting about it on social media – talking it up, which is not really my thing. But I thought I’d give it a go. And in the end it worked. And I was granted a ticket.
I turn up to collect and apparently my pass won’t let me in/I’m at the wrong gate (here we fucking go, I think!) but turns out I’ve got a “Friends” pass or something. Which means a wristband of a different colour. I’m in the club. Jumping the queue. I get to go to a special hang-out area where there’s free water and no line for it and cash-bar with no huge queue. And toilets. Fairly clean toilets. This is not expected at all – by me. But it is a wonderful treat. Makes a long day go by a lot smoother.
Look, Laneway wasn’t great but it did have moments and I said as much. And my review was at the least more thorough/considered than the ones I read where people left early or talked about the food rather than the music.
The publicist sent me a note back about my review telling me I was old and shouldn’t have bothered.
Stubs is an occasional feature here at Off The Tracks – looking back through the ticket-stub box and remembering how the show went down.