Auckland's Laneway music festival is moving to a new location - and it's the best one yet. Mark Kneebone explains why.

Mark Kneebone is standing in the middle of Albert Park wearing a grin that speaks volumes.

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and Kneebone is about to exclusively reveal to the Herald that he's standing on the new site for next year's St Jerome's Laneway music festival in Auckland.

"We can do it better here than we've ever done it," he says. "This is where we always wanted to be."

Mark Kneebone relaxes n Laneway's new home in Albert Park. Photo/Dean Purcell
Mark Kneebone relaxes n Laneway's new home in Albert Park. Photo/Dean Purcell

Things will certainly get louder in the serene, flower-filled park and surrounding streets when Laneway's 30-odd acts and 12,000-odd punters move from Silo Park to Albert Park Precinct for next year's event on January 30, Auckland Anniversary Day.

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The news ends speculation about where Laneway is heading in 2017, with everywhere from Auckland Domain to Victoria Park, Western Springs and even Wellington rumoured as potential options when the festival outgrew its Silo Park site after five years.

Read more: Five options to keep Laneway in Auckland

Kneebone says he couldn't be happier with Laneway's new home, which will include a main stage on Princes St, two stages in Albert Park, and a smaller stage down Alfred St.

"Nine years ago when we first started planning the festival, the plan was always to use Albert Park, Princes St and parts of the university. For a whole lot of reasons we didn't," he says.

"What makes this site so beautiful is what makes it so hard to put a show in here. There are a lot of native trees, a lot of things you need to work around, and a lot of stakeholders.

"We finally found ourselves in the perfect spot. We're 100 per cent confident we can pull it off."

The Internet performs at this year's Laneway Music Festival. Photo/Doug Sherring
The Internet performs at this year's Laneway Music Festival. Photo/Doug Sherring

Laneway has become a highlight on Auckland's summer music calendar thanks to an eclectic line-up that isn't afraid to champion fledgling bands, left-field acts or unsigned performers, and its refusal to use big names to hype up the festival to sell more tickets.

This year's February event included performances by Canadian electronic acts Grimes and Purity Ring, Aussie acts Flume and Hermitude, rappers Vince Staples and Goldlink, and metallers METZ and Violent Soho. The 2017 line-up is due for release next week.

But every site Laneway has been on in Auckland - from the cramped confines of Britomart in 2010, to the equally rammed Aotea Square in 2011, and the concrete jungle that is Silo Park - has had issues, mostly to do with shade and queues.

That's about to change, says Kneebone. The new site is 1.5 times bigger than Silo Park, and is the biggest of all Laneway festivals. There'll be more boutique food outlets, more craft beer and boutique wine bars, more toilets and more "nooks and crannies" to explore.

Fans enjoy the sun at Laneway's 2015 event at Silo Park. Photo/Jason Dorday
Fans enjoy the sun at Laneway's 2015 event at Silo Park. Photo/Jason Dorday

Most importantly, there'll be more places to escape the sweltering heat Laneway is known for, Kneebone says.

"There'll be a lot more shade. If it's a 28-degree day, half the site is covered in trees and we don't (have to) fence them off. You can grab a beer, grab something to eat, sit under a tree and watch your favourite band. That's the point of Laneway," says Kneebone.

All that space doesn't mean Laneway is increasing its size. Kneebone doesn't want to go up from its 12,000 capacity, and he says the festival doesn't need to.

"The good thing for Laneway ... is that we're not looking for hits. We're looking for really interesting music that makes up a whole day. It's a key difference. You're not chasing the charts," he says. "We can take so many more risks with the line-up."

Vince Staples performs at this year's Laneway Music Festival. Photo/Doug Sherring
Vince Staples performs at this year's Laneway Music Festival. Photo/Doug Sherring

As for that line-up, which will be revealed next Wednesday at 10.30am, Kneebone says it's almost finalised.

"We're almost there. Hopefully in the next couple of days we'll lock in the last three or four acts. We're really happy, but really nervous.

"You fly around the world seeing these bands, putting it all together. You just hope people will be as excited.

"Hopefully after eight years, they trust us."

Who: Festival promoter Mark Kneebone
What: St Jerome's Laneway Festival
Where: New site at Albert Park Precinct in Central Auckland
When: Monday, January 30
Line-up: Unveiled next Wednesday at 10.30am
More information: Auckland.Lanewayfestival.com