Music fans cheer at St Jerome's Laneway Festival 2013 at Silo Park on January 28 in Auckland, New Zealand. The Meadow Brook show is the festivalís first crack at America. (Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
An overseas indie rock festival is making its North American debut at Meadow Brook Music Festival this summer, organizers announced Friday.
Australia's Laneway Festival will set up shop at the Rochester Hills amphitheater Sept. 14, festival founder Danny Rogers was set to announce Friday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
Laneway, which Rogers says is comparable to Chicago's celebrated Pitchfork Music Festival, will feature 25-30 acts performing on four stages. Laneway's lineup and ticket details will be announced in May.
The festival launched in 2004 in Melbourne, and has since expanded to six other cities in Australia and Asia. The Meadow Brook show is the festival's first crack at America.
There was interest from promoters in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco to bring Laneway to America over the last decade, Rogers said by phone Thursday. "In general, every time they presented it, (the proposals) seemed really obvious to me," he says.
Through conversations with folks affiliated with Paradigm Talent Agency, which is owned by Sam Gores, the brother of Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, Detroit was mentioned as a host city. "Immediately I was like, 'That would be incredible,'" Rogers says.
That was a year ago. Rogers flew into Detroit last March. He was impressed with the people he met and by what he saw and decided to go ahead with the plan.
"I felt like I could see where it would be in 10 years time, and we'd be potentially a fantastic story that helps reconnect Detroit," he says.
Rogers, who partnered with Paradigm and Palace Sports & Entertainment as promoters, initially wanted to hold the event downtown, but settled on Meadow Brook, which falls under PS&E's umbrella. The site will be reconfigured to feature stages in what is normally the venue's parking lot area and will have a capacity of around 15,000, Rogers says, about double Meadow Brook's usual capacity for a concert.
Musically, the lineup will target "the discerning music fan," Rogers says, and has several "really solid indie acts" at the top of the bill. Past Laneway festivals have featured acts such as M83, Cut Copy, the xx, Mumford & Sons, Girl Talk, the Hold Steady and Feist.
The event will also shine a light on local food and craft breweries.
Rogers says Laneway may eventually grow to other North American cities, "but we really just want to get this one right," he says, before expanding further.
The event joins an increasingly crowded Metro Detroit summer festival season. In addition to returning favorites such as the Movement Festival and the Downtown Hoedown, this summer also sees the addition of Metallica's Orion Music + More Festival and the Faster Horses country music festival to the concert calendar.
Furthermore, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett and the double bill of Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z are all set for downtown stadium shows. Kid Rock also has promised a big summer concert announcement is forthcoming.
Laneway is also another startup in a crowded national festival schedule and will compete for many of the same acts and the same ticket buyers as any number of similar-minded fests in other cities.
"We're not trying to pretend we're inventing something new," Rogers says. "But we definitely feel like there's a gap in Detroit to do something and do it right, and we could create something really good for the city."