Lovebox on Friday shows the rest of the city festivals how it's done

Lovebox Weekender 2011 review

published: Tue 19th Jul 2011

Skream

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2011
Victoria Park, London, E9 7BT, England MAP
£99 Weekend; Friday £28.50; Saturday/Sunday £48.50
last updated: Mon 11th Jul 2011

Lovebox is the perfect Londoners festival. It's line-up reflects the multiculturalism of the city, it's atmosphere a weekend getaway to frolic in the countryside, but finishes just in time to get the tube home or to an after-party. The mix of music is enough to keep the most diverse of beat vultures satisfied, but most would stay at the stage of their choice all night long.

around the festival site (Friday)
The main stage on the Friday stood empty, instead the Gaymers stage took over, which started with a sample of acts loved by the blogsphere, such as the dreamy chillwave Washed Out, and the energetic 80's inspired Architecture In Helsinki, but the proceedings were aimed more at the younger Radio1 lover as the evening drew on.

Ed Sheeran retained his title as the nicest newcomer to the pop world, with many impressed fans mobile videoing his number no 1 hit A-Team; inspired by a homeless woman called Angel, who he met after performing a voluntary gig for the charity Crisis last Christmas. Beardyman entertained the masses with his live (yes LIVE, as he told us at least three times) looped beatboxing. It was good fun, relied on the crowd to keep the one man band's set energised.

Metronomy
A matured Metronomy also drew a big crowd as they performed songs from their breakthrough album 'The English Rivera', but kept die-hard fans happy playing a selection of their older hits. A humbled Example kept the crowd bouncing, paving the way for The Wombats to headline the night, who simply couldn't decide if they wanted to be twee or rocky.

Things were progressively more dub-step on the FWD++RinseFM stage around the corner, which benefited from having raised seating/standing areas to provide better sightlines and making the main floor less cramped amid the skanking. It was almost poetic that life was imitating art; while the sun was shining the sounds were dark and gnarly with DJs like Roska and Kode 9 reminding us how good Dubstep used to be.

Skream
But as the sun set the two step was swapped for cheese, with the once heavyweight pioneers playing commercial sets with more rewinds than than I have digits. Skream in particular treated his set like his own private party, jumping on the table and swearing at the audience. This was completed by an embarrassing stage entourage including the gurner in the corner, whos only contribution was texting his mates and holding up a patronising post watershed sign "Live on Air - No Swearing".

SebastiAn
Ed Banger records hosted one hell of a party at the (baby pyramid) Relentless stage. Uffie invited a stream of hipsters on stage to 'Pop the Glock', while duo Carte Blanche (DJ Mehdi & Riton) had their own slickly choreographed dancers to keep you entertained. SebastiAn performed his new album live, in a spectacular audio visual display that can only be described as an authoritative campaign to be the president of France. The night finished with the 'Ed Banger All Stars' featuring label owner Busy P with DJ Mehdi and a special guest appearance from Flying Lotus. Their stage is testament that the best stages are the ones hosted by labels, with all of their music making friends dropping in for the ride.

Elsewhere Barcadi kept things housey in their make-shift Spanish villa, where people sipped Mojitos and danced around the palm trees to Aeroplane. Even more impressive was the post-apocalyptic hotel disguised as a steamy nightclub, hosted by Vice and Noisey. It was certainly the place to be when Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawke took to the stage - providing you could get in with the one-in-one-out queue.


around the festival site (Friday)
Normally noted for being family friendly, the children's area was missing this year - probably switched for Saturday's Arcadia stage, a festival favourite with those who like pyrotechnics and scantily clad ladies doing dirty things with angle grinders. Elsewhere, there were also some cute boutique stalls selling vintage bargains and crafts, providing you had any money left over after shelling out £4.50 for a pint.

In it's 9th year, Lovebox definitely shows the rest of the city festivals how it's done. With 4 main stages (no tents - I expect Saturday was soggy), set on a 40 hectare site, it's spacious enough to allow extravagant dancing and no sound bleeding between stages, but compact enough to walk the perimeter in 10 mins, and great sightlines even at the back. Ladies will be pleased to hear the the queueing time for the portaloos was more minutes than seconds with plenty of loo roll and hand sanitiser to go around. Lads will find short queues at the bar thanks to many mini taps dotted around the site, and in some cases the beer will come to you with some staff carrying a portable barrels on their backs.

However, once the major stage opens on the Saturday and the capacity doubles, it would probably be a different and overcrowded story.
review by: Rosie Rogers

photos by: Rosie Rogers

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2011
Victoria Park, London, E9 7BT, England MAP
£99 Weekend; Friday £28.50; Saturday/Sunday £48.50
last updated: Mon 11th Jul 2011


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