St Jerome's Laneway Festival, Melbourne - also known as The Hipsters' Annual Mass Migration to Footscray. The banks of the Maribyrnong River and the Footscray Community Arts Centre were bouncing with sunshine, tattoos and on-trend attendees. A gem of a venue, the Footscray Community Arts Centre had incredible views of the river, lush grassy knolls and even a few graffitti-clad laneways to boot. I had managed to wangle a photopass - despite my camera being approximately two metres shorter than the other photographers' and naked of accessories. Hanging out at the photo pit felt a little bit like a first day at a new school and your skirt being too long. Or not having a Tamagochi.
After getting over my camera's inferiority complex (the festival had everything short of portable counselling sessions - Melbourne's beloved BeatBox Kitchen & Taco Truck both made an appearance), I became a Photography Warrior. Despite being ill-equipped of extra weapons, before I knew it I was dodging and weaving through various jutting lenses and camera bags in the photo pit, shooting (get it?) subjects I've never seen that close before, and did not even bang into anyone's equipment (cough).
Together, my camera and I developed girl-crushes on the amazing array of strong female performers inclusive of Anna Calvi and the incredible Maddie Follin of The Cults. My view of the audience also changed. Usually in festivals I'm on a constant tip-toe, drowning in a sea of the lucky tall - but from the photo-pit a new perspective emerged. (See image below of two girls crushing on Jonti with ukelele- giggling, hand over mouth, wide-eyed, head tilt).
Highlights of the festival: Starting the day with Husky, a blue sky and a view of the river - the musical equivalent of having a massage on the beach. Being close to Active Child's harpistry. No long queues. The aforementioned girl crushes. An ice cream break (it was hot). Surviving the photo pit.
Words and pictures by Vinisha Mulani. Check back later in the week for Heidi Pett's full review of Sydney Laneway 2012.