City Hub

End of the laneway

Photo: Edwin Monk

The first Reclaim the Lanes festival ended with 100 people dancing naked in the mud in Camperdown Memorial Park, but now the party has run its course and the last track will be spun this Saturday.

For the last four years the free annual festival has attracted approximately 1,000 people to Newtown’s laneways to celebrate the music and creativity of the folk who frequent the area.

Festival Director Chris Lego said despite the party’s popularity, there are only so many times you can run the same event.

“I figure once you do the same thing five times, you’ve made your point. We never wanted people to take it for granted or assume there was always going to be another one,” he said.

“We wanted it to be something unique every time and something very special, so it feels like it’s good to draw a line under it.”

Mr Lego said the festival was meant to be a celebration of what is possible within the local community.

“Part of the point of it was to be empowering in a way, and for people to feel free to show up with beach balls or a beer bong or hopscotch or a giant game of Twister or whatever they wanted,” he said.

The festival was originally started as joke between friends that went spiraling out of control.

Now Mr Lego believes anyone can throw a free wheelie bin party for the community.

“Social media is a blessing and a curse. But one of the blessings is it is a lot easier to get in touch with people, whether it’s your favourite band that you never got around to approaching at the pub or your favourite local DJ,” he said.

“There’s some nuts and bolts to figure out, but I reckon a lot of people and a lot of circles of friends are capable of putting on things like Reclaim the Lanes.”

Sydney Fringe Festival Director Lew Palaitis said Reclaim the Lanes is an institution in the local area for all artists and creative types.

“This is going to be the biggest and best one there’s been and its going to be part reunion, part farewell [and] part thank you. Everyone from this area who’s into creative arts, performance and visual arts should be there to be part of it and witness it,” he said.

“If you’re not there in 2013, you’re an idiot.”

Eleven separate mobile sound systems will be churning out beats through Newtown’s lanes to Sydney Park. Itch-E & Scratch-E are confirmed to headline the festival and Seymour Butz from Club Kooky is booked to play.

Australian music legend and one-half of Itch-E & Scratch-E, Paul Mac said the duo are delighted to be playing at the final Reclaim the Lanes.

“I was at the final-ever free rave at Sydney Park back in the day, watching people being arrested and girls being dragged out by the hair. It’s nice and fitting to reclaim this beautiful space once again. It’s free, it’s final and it’s real. I’m so proud to celebrate this movement,” he said.

The final Reclaim the Lanes will meet at Peace Park on the corner of Alice and King St at 2pm on Saturday, and wind its way through the backstreets.

The official after party is at the Gladstone Hotel in Chippendale, which will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of rebel electronic music group, DSS Sound System.