Freo asked to take over Laneway gig

The popular St Jerome's Laneway Festival will move to Fremantle's west end next year after outgrowing the Perth Cultural Centre.

The City of Fremantle approved a five-year partnership with Sunset Events for the annual indie rock music festival to shift to the Esplanade and surrounding streets from February.

In its submission, Sunset said the festival had grown from 4500 attendees when launched in Perth in 2009 to a sellout crowd of 8000 this year.

Its popularity in WA had created a strong demand for tickets and alternative venues had to be considered.

It believed Fremantle could host 12,000 people and moving to the port would generate excitement among the audience and local businesses.

Shifting Laneway would also avoid a venue clash with the Perth International Arts Festival and Fringe World, which put festivities at the cultural centre on hold in February for the one-day music festival.

Sunset director Dave Chitty said that if the council approved the request, he would talk to the cultural centre and national Laneway partners before making a decision.

"We're considering our options," he said. "We love the current location but Laneway is a growing venture and the Perth Cultural Centre is a very busy location."

Fringe World director Marcus Canning said Laneway moving would create "interesting potential" for Fringe and PIAF to do more with the cultural centre next year.

PIAF general manager Julian Donaldson said having all three events on the same weekend had been great for Perth audiences.

But there was no doubt the growing success of all three created pressure on the shared space at the cultural centre. "If the move to Fremantle enables Laneway to grow its audience, we wish them the very best," he said

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tim Milsom welcomed the proposal.

"The festival will undoubtedly bring a much needed economic influx to Fremantle's retailers, as well as bringing a youthful and vibrant demographic," he said.

"We feel this event will certainly add to Fremantle's quirky and colourful atmosphere."

Laneway began in Melbourne in 2005 and has expanded nationally and globally, launching in Singapore in 2011. A US event is planned for Detroit this year.

The West Australian

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