For those who don’t know what ‘Lovebox’ is, it is an annual summer festival that lasts around 3 days in London, and this year it was held at Gunnersbury park. Despite it being 30 degree weather with barely any clouds sparing me with some form of shade, I couldn’t have asked for a better festival experience. But before I begin telling you about the artists and performances themselves, there were a few issues I had:
Firstly, Lovebox, please sort out your microphones. The music from the instruments were played so loudly that you could barely hear the artists themselves! Fix it for next year as there are so many people who pay to hear these artists sing.
Secondly, you pay for a ticket to see the artist, hear them and hopefully cry because you realise that they actually exist. You cannot possibly appreciate the music and truly enjoy it whilst you video the entire performance and take endless photos. Its fine to take the odd photo and video—but not of the entire thing. To be honest I think you’re disrespecting the artist by not giving them your full attention.
Anyway, on to the rest!
“It was the best way to hype the crowd.”
There were three stages, on the main stage was Kali Uchis, The Internet, Big Boi, N.E.R.D, Annie Mac and Childish Gambino, (these were the only artists I went to see). On the other stages were Mura Masa, Preditah, DVSN (LOVE THEM), as well as some other artists.
Whilst I’m not a huge fan of Kali Uchis—I really enjoyed her set. She gave off such a sensual, chilled vibe. The songs I enjoyed the most were ‘Tyrant’ (which features Jorja Smith) and ‘Just A Stranger’ (ft. Steve Lacy). Not only did she perform both of these songs incredibly, but she brought on both Jorja Smith (I KNOWW!!) and Steve Lacy. It was the best way to hype the crowd.
Not a lot of people know who The Internet are, but they’re an RnB group who play music that is quite soulful, with elements of funk. Whilst they’re not the best artist to bring to a festival to get people dancing, their performance was actually phenomenal, every beat was on point, and they created an atmosphere that felt so relaxed and comforting.
“Pharrell Williams knew exactly how to keep the audience buzzing”
N.E.R.D was the only act I wasn’t as excited to see because I didn’t really know them as well, but in all honesty, I think they were the best performance of the day. N.E.R.D not only played some old school songs (like ‘She Wants To Move’), but Pharrell Williams knew exactly how to keep the audience buzzing by getting us dancing and hyped with moshpits. I’m not really sure if it was fun or terrifying being pushed around and almost dragged into the middle by screaming fans, but N.E.R.D had such an infectious energy that you couldn’t help but want to be part of the fun!
Luckily for all these artists I was at the front with the die-hard fans, so they all could share the appreciation that I had for them, and I also was able to see them clearly without looking on the screens. But when it came to Childish Gambino, we were further back and unfortunately I am 5”1 and was not wearing heels that day, so I could barely see him on the stage. That being said, I could hear him, and that was honestly fulfilling enough.
“The food choice was endless”
I could see from the screens that he was a true performer, and for that reason I am going to see him in November at the O2. Words can’t describe just how great he sounded. The problem was, being at the back, people weren’t diehard fans and didn’t even know the lyrics! So I ended up being the sole fan screaming every lyric to songs like ‘Redbone’ whilst people smoked and took videos rather than actually watching the artist.
This is why I personally think artists like The Internet and Childish Gambino can’t be appreciated as much at a festival, as you can’t really actually hear, feel and see every element of their performance, and it can get ruined by those who don’t really care much for them.
Food and Drink
As soon as I got to the festival I was hungry, and I have to say the food choice was endless, they had Lebanese food, burgers, Jerk chicken, churros, crepes—you name it, they had it! I had a really nice Jerk chicken wrap that was genuinely delicious. It was the right level of spice, freshly made and a considerable size. Of course, being at a festival it was priced very high, but I didn’t really expect anything less and this was the same for drinks (which by the way, they had many MANY cool bars to drink at)—so make sure you’re prepared to splash the cash.
What I really liked is that they had this mini ‘Aussie’ cocktail bar with exotic drinks, and they played really pure funk music which was such a nice low-key alternative to the big music players going on around the park. They even had people sing on a mini stage in this area, I think it was for people trying to break into the industry—it was a great way for them to get exposure into this industry to make contacts, get themselves known AND a feel for what a real performance can feel like.
“Despite my rants, I had the best time seeing these performers”
I didn’t really see the other artists because the timings interfered with the artists above, and honestly, waiting around skin on skin with people, in the heat, surrounded by people doing all sorts of things is a lot to deal with. Let’s also not forget the crazy fans that belt each line so out of tune in your ears…but that’s what makes this a festival! Despite my rants, I had the best time seeing these performers and just enjoying the atmosphere—I think it’s something everyone needs to do at least once—just be prepared and know what you’re in for.
By Natasha Manohar
Featured Image Courtesy of Lovebox Festival Official Facebook.