the rain on the second day of Lovebox makes it more of a festival experience

Lovebox Weekender 2011 review

published: Thu 21st Jul 2011

around the festival site (2)

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

The second day of Lovebox began with a decidedly wet vibe that carried on. Heading out of the local station, I was surprised and annoyed at the amount of touts selling tickets for up to £150 (retail price £48.50), littering the streets on the 10 minute walk to Viccy Park... I won't use this review as a rant though.

True Ingredients
I stumbled upon an urban group on the small Circus Kinetica stage; True Ingredients drew me in immediately because their energy was infectious. I caught the end of their set and the rapping of their vocalists joined with the soulful, silky sounds of the female singers was sweet music to the ears.

They drew in a bigger crowd as they performed and the high point of their set for me was the tune they described as being against rappers always talking about fast cars, and expensive trinkets etc, 'I Don't Give A...'. One of the many vocalists from their (officially 10 people strong) group jumped into the crowd and encouraged audience members to sing along with the 'I Don't Give a Fuck' in the chorus.

I was impressed; these guys have an edgy UK Hip Hop vibe and they had a streak of Roots Manuva.

Even cooler is that their album comes as a pair of different coloured sunglasses with a code on them to download, and in Snoop Dogg's headlining slot later he wore an official pair of yellow True Ingredients sunglasses/album!

Wandering through the site there was a lot happening, apart from the stages and bars, there was some form of music everywhere, whether it be a DJ in the back of a van, or rappers with portable sound systems.

I've been to many London festivals but they are more like parks with live music, whereas Lovebox's claim of being "London's most convincing festival" was not unfounded.

Dry The River
Dry The River had a small crowd surrounding them on the Gaymers Stage, listening to their folk sounds. It's very hard for quite a traditional act to play at a festival like this so I was impressed they had pulled an audience. Their voices were powerful, and the melodies enchanting but they were drowned out slightly by surrounding stages, however they belted out their tunes and their fans were visibly happy.

At the Gaymers Cider & Music Bar, Drum-Along-Disco were just finishing and it is fair to say the roof was definitely being raised, as they played out dance classic like Basement Jaxx, and creative shapes were made on the dance floor by all!

MC Xander
A very humble MC Xander took to the stage next, and introduced himself as a beatboxer/MC and music-maker.

He blew me away; with recording instruments in front of him, he creates a musical experience. It’s simple really – he produces the noises with his mouth – snare drum, bass drum, horn, etc, records them there and layers them in front of your eyes.

The quality of his reggae-infused and dancehall tunes was astounding and the tent jammed along; and this is without acknowledging that he is a great MC too. Katy B was on the mainstage next, and that's when the heavens really opened. I have a girl crush on Katy and nothing was going to stop me seeing her after her amazing Glastonbury performance.

Apart from nearly drowning, I wasn't disappointed but I had to go right upfront to hear her properly though (not her fault, more the sound systems') but her voice is beautifully flawless and she bounced across the stage getting the crowd hyped.

around the festival site (2)
At one point the rain was coming down so hard that there was just a sea of umbrellas but everyone was in good spirits and it didn't dampen the mood! Even though we were in London it really felt like a festival experience; I joined a mobile game of 'Musical Chairs' where music was played from a portable system, as well as speaking to lots of lovely people.

Food options were aplenty but the main problem was the toilets. It was such a bad set-up to get in and out of them, leading to pushing, immense queuing, and eventually many girls joining guys in urinating against the walls all round the site… nice.

After catching an old school set from De La Soul, which was great and had the crowd jumping, but more for the nostalgia than the quality I feel, it was finally time for Snoop to do it Doggy Style.

No expense wasted, Snoop Dogg & The Dogg Pound's set started with video footage on the large screens before he took to the stage with his remaining Dogg Pound members and obligatory scantily clad dancers.

He was adorned in a yellow jacket, the aforementioned matching shades, hair in 2 pigtail plaits, and the most bling I had ever seen in a full hand ring, spelling his name.

I was scared it would be an anti-climax as the group is quite mature now but it was a superstar's set.

around the festival site (3)
Videos flashed up throughout including one with an intro from Dr Dre and the audience went crazy with the classics, especially when Warren G performed 'Regulate' like he'd just recorded it yesterday.

Snoop paid tribute to the recently departed Dogg Pound member, "Before we go any further can we have a moment of silence for my homie Nate Dogg", which was greatly respected by the crowd.

He also declared "We really appreciate that you all know these records and keep them in your heart. We appreciate that real shit" as the crowd lost themselves in the night dancing to the hits.

It was a perfect finale and well worth the 18 year wait since the Dogg Pound had performed in the UK together.
review by: Fiona Madden

photos by: Fiona Madden

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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