Lovebox Festival took over east London’s Victoria Park for another summer shutdown this year.
Being that, in all honesty, my tastes are of the ‘urban’ music persuasion, checking out what Friday had to offer seemed like the right fit – the Visions stage being particularly appealing, largely due to the highly anticipated NuBrandFlexx performance. It was a Friday well spent, as I’ll happily explain.
Before we get into the sonic pleasures of the day, I’d like to point out that unlike most London day festivals, or at least the ones I’ve been to, Lovebox offers so much more than just good music, alcohol and a green space. There’s a host of amusements to engage yourself with, as I quickly discovered after finessing a free massage from a masseuse while roaming the site early afternoon. In addition to this, there was a hula hooping stage with bare people, and a woman on stage controlling mic to keep the crowd whippin’ them rings. It engaged me momentarily out of awe, though in reality picking up a hula hoop and windin’ up myself weren’t my cup of tea. But still, there were plenty of people getting involved, and fair play to ’em. On top of all that you had a roller disco poppin’ off, plus market stalls selling clothes and accessories, as well as a substantial range of options for food. All in all, there was everything you could possibly need to stay stimulated for the course of the whole day.
But I digress, let’s talk about the music, or rather, the notable acts of the day. I spent the first portion at the darkly lit FabricLive tent, which was practically full within the first couple hours, as Barely Legal pulled in the crowds. It really did seem like everyone in the festival was there at that time because it was too early for the place to be remotely filling up. So big her up – she came with a flawless blend of grime, garage and UK bangers… salute.
Barely Legal’s phenomenal set was followed by Birmingham’s premier producer, Preditah, who took the energy to another level. Between them both, the FabricLive live tent was cookin’ on gas – heated and warmed sufficiently to last the whole evening.
I wanted to see Oneman B2B MyNuLeng, but I was made aware that unfortunately Oneman couldn’t make his set, which was a bit of a shame as that was also a set I was really looking forward to. Upon discovering this I decided it was time to visit the Visions stage, whose line up held the most appeal for from the beginning. Y’know… with the aforementioned ‘urban’ music preference.
To keep a long story short: Newham Generals killed it, Nu Brand Flexxx killed it, with ‘Anthem’ tearing the whole
place down. Boya Dee did a sterling job of hosting the stage throughout – the the vibe at the Visions tent felt like it was my place to be. It’s almost shameless – as I was meant to cover the whole festival – that I found myself spending a disproportionate amount of time there, but in reality, that’s testament to the quality of the curation on Lovebox’s part.
I did get over to the main stage for the latter part of the evening, but when it comes to main stages, you’ve gotta bully your way to the front, or just fall back. And that’s what we did. Soaking up the sounds of Katy B and Chronixx from the quaint woody area at the back, with the stage still audible and visible – ideal really.
In a nut shell, Lovebox stayed true to their press release, the festival really does bring a discerning mix of acts and audiences together; in a way that, in some regards, reflects the area of London itself. It really was a testament to my experience this year, because I found exactly what I wanted, and so did the patchwork of people who came for contrasting reasons.
Didn’t see many main acts… didn’t need to. If you’re a main stage, main act kinda person, Wireless is probably for you. But if you wanna go to a London day festival with a truly discerning lineup, range of activities and well-balanced mix of people, then you’ll have the experience I had. I went to Lovebox and had a great time because they successfully delivered what they said they would, with a balanced and eclectic range of cultures endorsed by the well-selected stage hosts. So, if you wanna go to a London day festival, hear good dance music, presented by a vast range of credible outlets bringing in less of the pretentious reveller you’ve come to loathe at other festivals, then Lovebox trumps the rest.
Words and images: Timi Ben-Edigbe