Lovebox, held in Victoria Park, has become one of the hottest festivals of the summer, and easily one of the best held in the capital.
As its reputation has grown, the festival has drawn a bigger and more varied crowd, with out-of-towners travelling into East London for the weekend. The two-dayer has a fairly open music policy, spanning electronica, house, techno, drum and bass, garage, grime, hip-hop and R&B.
The selection is always on point, with the right mix of huge headline names and up-and-coming acts, spread across these genres - this year’s line-up included the likes of Snoop Dogg, Hot Chip, Rudimental, Jessie Ware, Bonobo, Skepta, Cypress Hill, Kerri Chandler, Dusky, Kaytranada, MK, Boddika, Hercules & Love Affair, Goldie, Gilles Peterson and James Zabiela to name but a few.
Saturday was a particularly nice day for it – warm and sunny but not as face-meltingly hot as last year’s festival. After getting the drinks in, we eased into Lovebox with a trip inside the Despacio tent. Set up across both days, this collaborative project between LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and 2manydjs, centred on an innovative, custom-built soundsystem.
Monster speaker stacks surrounded a chequered, disco ball decorated dancefloor, and with light fading in and out and laid-back grooves emanating from the 360-degree sound, the effect was quite incredible. It felt like you were in a dark disco club from the 70s – the focus was the music and the sound, not the DJs. It would have been incredibly easy to dance away the whole day in there, so we left the intoxicating rhythms of the tent behind before we got hooked.
Stepping back out into sunlight, we went over to the Main Stage to catch South London songstress Jessie Ware. Pleasingly her voice is just as flawless and sounds just as soulful live as it does on record. And for someone with star quality in abundance she was also incredibly down-to-earth, chatting with the crowd and asking if it was ok if she put sunglasses on. As well as performing hits from both her albums, she also brought out special guest, friend and new talent Dornik, who had performed in the Big Top earlier in the day.
After those cool R&B vibes, we were definitely ready to dance, so we moved across the park to the BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix tent for Scuba’s set. A master of many genres, Scuba’s mixing ability is second to none. He brought the crowd up and down with ease, dropping heavy bass and raising hands in the air at exactly the right time. People were dancing like mad and if you didn’t know it, you’d never be able to guess it was only half six in the evening. It may have been a short and sweet appearance but Scuba certainly impressed, with one of, if not the best, sets of the day.
The Essential Mix tent had an on-point programme from start to finish, and despite the prospect of Heidi b2b Kim Ann Foxman following Scuba, we tore ourselves away to the Big Top for Flume. It was mad busy over there, in fact the tent was overflowing, that’s how many people wanted to catch this guy, and with good reason – Flume is hot property right now. Although we were a little farther back that we wanted to be, he still sounded pretty great and had us moving despite being pressed up against people on all sides.
Following Flume it was back to the Essential Mix tent for the final set of the day, and what a final set - Kerri Chandler on his only London festival date of the year. We’ve been lucky enough to see him play a few times, most recently in sunny Barcelona for OFF Sonar, and he was on equally fine form in our neck of the woods. He began a little harder than we’ve heard him before, going off of the vibe set by Heidi and Kim Ann Foxman, but by this point both the light and temperature had dropped so it suited the crowd well. Kerri slowly bought the soulful house in, building the set to a big finish, which was a mix of his latest joint ‘Turn Off The Lights (Who’s Afraid Of The Dark)’ and Inner City’s ‘Big Fun’. What a way to end.
Once again Lovebox has put on another great two days of festival fun, and has already got us thinking about 2016.