Lovebox Festival has seemingly been topic of conversation across the capital and beyond for many months now; it’s not been difficult to spot a jazzy poster plastered in a tube station or to flick past an advert in local magazine. Taking place over Friday and Saturday, we were lucky enough to be heading over to Gunnersbury Park in West London to check out the scene on the Saturday; we say lucky, as weekend and Saturday tickets were sold out weeks ahead of the show.
And with a glittering Saturday line-up including the likes of Annie Mac, Bonobo, N.E.R.D and a headline act from the adored Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover, it’s not really that much of a surprise. Friday’s line-up of Wu-Tang Clan, Diplo, BICEP and Skepta, wasn't too shabby either.
Weaving into the festival on Saturday, we were soon accompanied with flocks of sparkling sequins, colourful prints and effortlessly trendy ensembles, beautiful clothes being worn by equally beautiful people. London’s unusual scorching summer showed no signs of halting, and with the 30 degree heat blazing down on us, it easily felt as though we could be dancing on the crackling earth of a chic festival in California, USA rather than our old Blighty.
With it being Lovebox’s first move from Victoria Park in the east, we were soon instantly impressed with the easy-to-navigate layout of the festival, picking up our bearings with ease. The atmosphere on arrival was already pulsating, groups of friends dancing together animatedly and a constant stream of chatter, laughter and singing.
Throwing ourselves into the deep end, we headed over to catch American hip hop and rock fusion trio N.E.R.D who had already commenced a very energetic set over on the main stage.
‘If you’re having a good time, say hell yeah’ roared the band’s famous frontman, Pharrell Williams, his words creating the desired effect and rousing the crowd even further.
We hadn’t realised until then, how many of the catchy hits we actually knew, as we proceeded to let loose to the likes of ‘Everyone Nose (All The Girls Standing in the Line for the Bathroom)’, ‘She Wants To Move’, ‘Rock Star’ and ‘Lap Dance.’
Sweltering from the heat and our little dance around, we were drawn to the tented noisey presents stage to take shade, where Mura Masa was hitting the decks. Unfortunately we underestimated his popularity; the tent was absolutely rammed, but this didn’t stop us making the most of his hip-swinging tunes. ‘Love$ick’, collaborated with ASAP Rocky and arguably his most popular hit triggered an excitable reaction amongst the swarms, prompting plenty of arm waving and a cacophony of singalongs.
Always a fan of Annie Mac’s summer festival shows, it would have been rude not to catch the end of her set on the main stage. As expected energy was high, the crowds were out and once again our girl didn’t disappoint.
But, it was soon time to catch Bonobo playing in the noisey presents stage. Having seen Bonobo play live twice before, I could recall how enchanting both performances were. As the tent soon filled with the familiar feel-good tinkling tunes, I was once again captivated. Peering around, it seems I wasn’t the only one.
After a well-timed cider break, we threaded our way into the masses at the main stage to watch the most eagerly anticipated set of the festival: the almighty Childish Gambino. A launch into ‘Me and Your Mama’, was just the beginning of Donald Glover’s captivating performance. The just-released ‘Feels Like Summer’ and ‘Summertime Magic’ were suitable choices, and swaying along I felt completely content, succumbing to the hedonism of the day.
As he strutted and writhed around shirtless with a dramatised boggle-eyed expression spread across his grinning face, it was difficult to tear my eyes away. Unsurprisingly, the big hits came towards the end of the funk-filled one hour set, and we were treated to a string of chart-toppers including ‘Redbone’ and the politically charged number one hit, ‘This is America’. The hypnotic set begged the question, what will Donald Glover do next?