Laneway Festival, the savvy, left-of-center-leaning music festival which began life as a Melbourne street party back in 2004, is reaching out to like-minded music fans with a digital content platform.
Developed and built by Melbourne digital and creative agency Bolster and helmed by content director Darren Levin, former managing editor of Junkee.com, LNWY.CO (pronounced ‘laneway dot co’) is a video-rich hub for your favorite Laneway acts, and many you haven’t heard of yet.
A year in the making, LNWY.CO is a separate entity, though inspired by the big, annual show. “This isn’t about acts playing Laneway or talking about the festival constantly, it’s more about shining a spotlight on interesting artists and events,” Levin tells Billboard. “It’s not just about Laneway but perhaps anything that fits into the Laneway world, which is pretty broad.”
It’s a scene-building exercise for a brand which knows something about risk-taking and evolution. Founded by Danny Rogers and Jerome Borazio, and co-promoted with Chugg Entertainment, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival has grown into a seven-city roadshow with dates on both sides of the Tasman and a route to Asia through a Singapore leg. And in a first for an Australian festival brand, Laneway expanded into the U.S. in 2013 with show at the Meadow Brook Music Festival in suburban Detroit (the U.S. event however, has yet to return for a second outing).
LNWY.CO was finally presented to the Australian media today and should get a good push on Laneway’s social channels, certainly in the early phases as the site gains traction.
The “reverse-Pitchfork” model is unique to Australia, and perhaps anywhere. “I can’t think of any other festival in the world which has started with something on this scale,” Levin explains. “Other festival websites run news and content on their socials, but this is a living, breathing content platform.”
The banner-free site boasts an international team of contributors (all of them paid) who focus on longform, video and stories not in the news cycle with an attention to Australasia and Asia. At launch, the site features pieces on Father John Misty and a playlist curated by ODESZA (both performers at next year’s Laneway Festival), a career retrospective on Odd Future and a tale on Singapore’s underground music scene. The spotlight will soon fall on the music scene in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“There’s a commercial side as well, creating opportunities for the sponsors who are working with the festival or want to talk to the Laneway audience year-round,” adds Levin. “That’s a big aspect of the funding model.”