It’s quite a challenge, trying to expand a festival while keeping all that remained appealing about it in the first place. That’s the dilemma facing Lovebox curators Groove Armada this year, as the festival site expands and the bill itself moves from two days to three, now kicking off on a Friday afternoon. Perhaps with that in mind Tom Findlay and Andy Cato have retreated to the sidelines, for the first time looking on rather than playing at their own festival.
With Lovebox the appeal remains the way Victoria Park becomes a complete place of escapism, where good and varied music is the main attraction but the side events are also enticing – the cocktails, the wonderful food, the circus and the drag disco of the NYC Downlow all trademark events. But the bill itself, always endearingly eclectic, works a treat too. New bands can be discovered, old loves can be reawakened – and if the bands aren’t doing it, the DJs have plenty of good time vibes to offer. With that in mind, anyone going for the duration in the Rizla area will not be disappointed.FRIDAY
The first Friday for Lovebox gets off to a flying start with Dizzee Rascal. England may be out of the World Cup (so James Corden is unlikely to be a fixture) but his arsenal of hits is now big enough for him to step up to be the main draw.Ones To Catch:
There is very much an ‘up and at ’em’ feel to Friday, with Chase & Status supporting on the main stage, Zinc & Dynamite MC in the custom built NYC Downlow area and Crookers over on the Relentless stage, though unlikely to have any of their high profile guests in tow. Two influential garage artists are present elsewhere, with MJ Cole on the turntables at the Downlow, and Todd Edwards sure to get people bouncing in the Rizla Arena.One To Discover:
Riva Starr is early on to the Relentless stage – and if you somehow haven’t yet heard his album If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade, this is the place to introduce yourself to it. Your feet will be suitably moved…SATURDAY
The eagerly awaited Roxy Music revival begins here. OK, so there’s no Brian Eno in the line-up, but Bryan Ferry and co will bring their studied songs of romance dressed in kitsch to the main stage. Expect Love Is The Drug, Do The Strand and Jealous Guy to be three big highlights of your day.Ones To Catch:
A strong undercard finds Mark Ronson peddling new material on the main stage with his group The Business International, while Paloma Faith can be found further down the bill just above Wild Beasts. The Gaymers stage has two Antipodean pop heavyweights in Empire Of The Sun and Midnight Juggernauts, the latter with a new album, while exceptional line-ups in the Relentless and Rizla areas bring forward a live set from Booka Shade and a headlining DJ gig for Grandmaster Flash respectively. Jazzie B will be his considerable support.One To Discover:
The Invisible are still not as well known as they should be, and they sneak in low down the bill on the Gaymers Stage. If you haven’t heard the wonderfully weird music of these Mercury nominees, the first cocktail of the day will go down a treat here.SUNDAY
Else we should lose some parts of our anatomy, we must mention Grace Jones as the top act here, strutting her stuff, no doubt with the aid of a wind machine. On the main stage, naturally, is where you’ll be able to pull up to her bumper, baby.Ones To Catch:
Supporting Lady Jones are Hot Chip, basking in the afterglow of their album One Night Stand, while Peaches and a somewhat reconstituted Hercules And Love Affair will provide plenty of charisma in the punk and disco stakes beforehand. Over at the second stage it’s an electro-pop affair, with the slick grooves of Cut Copy giving way to the clever ’80s pastiche of Toronto’s mischievous duo Chromeo. Yet for some the only destination will be the Rizla Arena, an understandable move as two doyens of US house are present in Larry Heard and Derrick Carter.Ones To Discover:
Almost hidden early on the second stage are the wonderful Silver Columns, aka Pictish Trail and Adem, while early evening on the main stage will belong to another duo, HURTS – of BBC ‘Sound of 2010’ fame.
Lovebox runs from 16th to 18th July at Victoria Park, London. Tickets and further information can be found at lovebox.net.