Brisbane: hit the Hidden Lanes Festival this weekend

It’s official: Brisbane gives good precinct.

Our buzzing riverside venues are among the best in the country (in my humble yet come-on-I’m-right opinion), from Southbank to Northshore, and all piers and wharves in between. There’s nothing like the sound of waves gently lapping against the other side of the table upon which your cocktail sits.

But let’s not forget the real heart of our CBD, Brisbane’s complicated mistress and original party precinct, Fortitude Valley. Forever-chic, raw, offbeat and the site of The Hidden Lanes Festival this Saturday, 26th October. An excitingly eclectic musical line up will provide the day’s soundtrack, to which guests can enjoy a packed program of masterclasses led by local creatives. All the good things that make Brisbane city so special will be on show.

What better way to show off the city’s much-loved valley lanes than with live music and free masterclasses led by local creatives, on everything that makes Brisbane city so special?  

A celebration of California Lane, Winn Lane, Bakery Lane, Lucky Lane and Little Valley Lane, this all-ages event will put a spotlight on 80+ resident businesses, inviting guests to immerse themselves in ‘Discovery Trails’ of fashion and beauty, art and design, food and wine, history and heritage.  

A musical line-up including Greta StanleyTyne-James Organ, The VANNS, First Beige, Pink Matter and others will be sure to provide some premium street party vibes.

Wollongong guitar-pop duo Cry Club also join the stacked line-up, offering up their special blend of bubblegum punk. We asked them some burning questions, like what they think makes a city laneway special, and much more. Do read on.

TGW: What do you think makes a laneway so special?

CC: That feeling that you’ve discovered a secret in an area that soooo many people see everyday.  Feeling alone or isolated right near a big crowd can be really calming for me – I can breathe, but am always reminded of how much life is right around the corner from the alley.  Also, alleys just have the BEST coffee shops.

Cry Club by Giulia McGauran

Alleys just have the BEST coffee shops.

TGW: Can you recommend any hidden gems in Wollongong or Melbourne?

CC: Delano in Woollongong is a secret that was so well kept, I only discovered it when our drummer from Melbourne came with us to the Gong and asked to go there!  It’s the kind of coffee that’s so good you don’t need sugar, it’s the absolute best coffee I’ve ever had [chef kiss].  As for Melbourne – I don’t think I’ve explored enough yet – but O’Hea’s Bakery & Deli is a super lovely authentic Eastern European deli and is always goooood!

TGW: We love your rule-breaking, bubblegum punk style.  But when we learned that Heather originally wanted to start a Cure cover band, our interest was truly piqued! Do you think you can rock a bedhead better than Robert Smith? How do you cultivate that style?

CC: I absolutely couldn’t rock it better than Robert – I don’t have enough hair!  I think to cultivate a style like that, you just need to work with where you’re already at and take your favourite things about your influences.  I love the idea that Robert Smith has this iconic makeup look, so we do that with the tears!  Something consistent, immediately legible and something people can join in with are the most important aspects of creating your own style.

TGW: Who are you most keen to see play at the Hidden Lanes Festival?

CC: Concrete Surfers for SURE!  I missed them at BIGSOUND this year and it was one of my biggest regrets.  Very keen to make up for it!

Other incredible acts playing at The Hidden Lanes will include TGW favourite Concrete Surfers, Dream Coast, James Rigby, Greaves and Nelipot.

As for the all important activities schedule, there is much to do!

Make your own dumplings (Fat Dumpling) or concoct your own cocktail (The Bowery), before enjoying DJ sets from Aimon Clark (The Creases), Ben Chiu, Black Amex, Greaves, Jawgoh and more, including Tokyo Twilight who will be sharing his escapist ambient sounds.

Tokyo Twilight will be sharing his escapist ambient sounds at The Hidden Lanes this Saturday.

We asked DJ Tokyo Twilight (aka Brisbane boy Jack Giess) to recommend his current favourite Valley haunts:

TGW: Jack! We love your ambient, electronic sounds. Unlike the valley lanes, you’re no longer hidden but have well and truly been unearthed by triple J and discovered at Bigsound.

TT: Yo! I love it too!  Glad to hear we’re on the same page. Yeah, it’s been a fantastic past year but there’s still so much more to come musically. I sort of got picked up just as I was still trying to figure out my sound, so I was going through a lot of writers block and just picking up gigs I didn’t really wanna do, or didn’t care about.  But now I’ve been writing songs I’m proud of and very keen to release!  I’ve also been working my ass off on a new live show, so I’m keen to debut that next year too.  Hidden Lanes will be my last show of the year.

TGW: Where do you recommend we go to discover the best beats in Brisbane?

TT: I’ve actually just turned 18 and have hardly been out, so I couldn’t tell you! My best answer would be to come into Reverends Fine Coffee in Fortitude Valley where I work and listen to my playlists – I put on the speakers during my shifts, haha.  I have heard that The Outpost has had some awesome gigs lately, so I’m due to check it out.

TGW: Are there any other musical acts you’re keen to see at The Hidden Lanes Festival?

TT: Probably First Beige! I can’t remember where I saw them live but I remember absolutely loving it.

Masterclasses at The Hidden Lanes Festival

On offer across the festival is a series of nineteen diverse masterclasses, along with demonstrations and installations giving guests the chance to meet the maker behind the creations.  See our favourites below:

Dreamboat 1

Rock Your Bed Head with the Dreamboat Barbershop

Dreamboat is not your average barbershop, not only do they charge by service rather than gender, they pride themselves on being “inspired by uprising artistic subcultures and driven by equality.”  What a time to be alive. In the quest to continue fighting the status quo and encouraging others to express their creativity, EJ from Dreamboat will provide participants with a ‘cheat sheet’ for everyday hair styling, using both hairdressing and barbering techniques.


How To: Basic Maintenance of Fashion Garments with Practice Studio

Practice Studio provides a platform for creatives, generating seasonless collections and limited runs of garments and accessories.  Their retail space is aimed at promoting conceptual, creative and ethically-produced work from independent designers. In keeping with the slow-fashion theme, owner Kat Walsh will run a Masterclass to teach skills such as sewing on a button and basic garment mending, as well as a Q & A session for those who wish to know more about the designer/seamstress.


Cool, Calm and Collage at The Uncommon Store

Those champions of upcoming creative talent, The New Garde, will be encouraging all to stay calm and collage at The Uncommon Store. The retail outlet will showcase collections of unique locally designed pieces by emerging independent designers. Come and enjoy the creative process of collage in a notebook. The New Garde will supply all important elements to get the creative you going – a glass of bubbles, notebook, vintage books and magazines to cut up and encourage you to take your collages wherever you go!

The Hidden Lanes Festival is a FREE, family friendly event this Saturday 26 October. Registration for FREE masterclasses and Heritage tours are open NOW. Click here.

RSVP to the Facebook event here.

Seen at top: Hidden Lanes Festival by Alvaro Mayorga


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