With more and more festivals cropping up in London’s parks every summer, Lovebox is somewhat of a veteran, this year celebrating its 10th birthday. What started off as a club night at Brick Lane’s 93 Feet East soon escalated to become a staple of the London festival scene when organizers Groove Armada launched their first outside event – a one dayer in Clapham Common – to celebrate the club’s first anniversary in 2003.
With its feet firmly rooted in dance/off-filter pop, its line-up has been hit and miss over the years, but something about its carnival atmosphere and underlying hedonistic streak has us going back year after year. Nowadays stretched over three days and closer to its east London roots in Victoria Park, this year’s line-up sees Lovebox take a few reflective steps away from its recent attempts to please the masses.
Where the last few years have seen it host the likes of Florence And The Machine, Duran Duran, N.E.R.D, Hot Chip, Chaka Khan, Snoop Dogg, Scissor Sisters and Jessie J atop the bill, 2013 harks back to its more ‘credible’ early outings, with stages curated by the likes of Annie Mac, DJ Harvey, David Rodigan and Heidi.
This year’s festival is on 19-21 July and its opening day looks set to be the strongest.
Friday’s highlights include Flying Lotus – whose live performances can be a bit wobbly, but when he’s good he’s phenomenal…we gave his Roundhouse show four-and-a-half stars, saying: “His music is like hip hop stretched to galactic proportions.”
John Talabot, Azealia Banks, Gold Panda, Rudimental and Duke Dumont are high up the bill, with Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B and Dre Skull playing at the David Rodigan-curated Red Bull Music Academy tent, and DJs include SBTRKT and Disclosure. New for this year is the Jazz Café stage, which on Friday will be home to warped Canadian hip hop jazz trio BadBadNotGood, who impressed us at this year’s Glastonbury.
Saturday sees mainstream rap acts headlining, with Plan B and So Solid Crew topping the bill. Hospitality host the Big Top, bringing DJs Netsky, Andy C, Metrik and Nu Logic. Elsewhere Mark Ronson, AlunaGeorge, Ghostpoet, Netsky, Owelle and Splashh will add a poppier edge.
Organisers have designated Sunday “the destination event for anyone excited about the coolest music, emergent art and cutting edge fashion”. Whether Goldfrapp – with six albums and a 14 year career under their belts, and a new album on the way in September – can be classed “cutting edge” might be debatable, but if there’s one band that sums up Lovebox, it’s them. Electro-pop noir band Hurts will also be playing on Sunday, airing tracks from recent album Exile, which we said sports “epic backdrops and darkly themed influences”.
More cutting edge than either are recent DFA signings Factory Floor (pictured), whose set is set to be one of the day’s most unmissable. Other last day highlights include a return to Victoria Park for Kelis, the estimable techno-ambient producer-enabler Jon Hopkins, new kids on the block Chlöe Howl, Lil Kim, Miss Kittin, MS MR and Mykki Blanco, Hercules And Love Affair’s Kim Ann Foxman, the legends Frankie Knuckles and Derrick Carter, Canadian duo Purity Ring and legendary Berlin electro artist Paul Kalkbrenner.
Goth popster Charli XCX, singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas, the heavy guitars of Idles and Fear Of Men’s dreampop all offer refuge from the synths at the close of another chaotically eclectic carnival in the park.
Tickets for Lovebox 2013 can be bought here.