Highs of 26 degrees with a cold bev in a far away land - also known as West London - was the perfect combination for Lovebox 2019. Taking place in Gunnersbury Park, your walk to the site included a lovely stroll next to the lake, a nice view to reward you for your lengthy pilgrimage.
Entering the site and Clash was immediately bombarded by heavy bass as the Blu stage was located adjacent to the entrance. This was actually quite clever on Lovebox’s part as it lifted spirits almost instantly and prepared you for the good vibes throughout the day.
As always, the Friday of a festival is a late start. slowthai was the first performance on the main stage to really get the party started. The usual attributes of mosh pits and a cheshire cat smile was included in his set however this was frequently disrupted by security rummaging in the crowds and sound issues.
Surprisingly a prime highlight of the main stage performances was 2 Chainz. With anthems such as ‘Birthday Song’, ‘I Luv Dem Strippers’ and ‘Rule The World’, the crowd really started to reach its potential to be positively manic - just in time for J Hus. His set at Wireless last week was a great homecoming but this performance made that seem like a school disco. Definitely back in his zone, accompanied by literal fire and a special appearance by Dave, J Hus was a ringleader in this circus of a festival.
Closing the night was neo-soul goddess Solange Knowles. Embracing the yee-haw agenda with all black stage members, this show was all about embracing your melanin. That, and showcasing the amazing twerking skills of her dancers.
Stating that she’s trying to get down herself but was shy because her son was present, she made up for her shyness with the phenomenal vocal range as demonstrated in ‘Almeda’, ‘Dreams’ and fan favourite ‘Cranes In The Sky’.
Fast forward to Saturday afternoon and there is pure confusion swarming the park. The sound on the main stage was reduced a very noticeable amount and so festival goers took to other stages. One that stood out was Places + Faces takeover at the Noisey Stage. Showcasing acts such as Take A Daytrip, Buddy and Tion Wayne, the tent was arena for the survival of the fittest.
Clash also managed to catch up with Buddy where he talked about the London atmosphere and the festival in general. Reeling off of his performance he says “I love it out here. The crowd was turnt! I fuck with Lovebox, I just hope they fuck with me.”
Back at the main stage, Lizzo’s set was nothing short of memorable including the iconic wedding veil and a bedazzled leotard. However sound was once again problematic as bass was boosted but vocals were dimmed. This was the same with Brockhampton’s set as well as Giggs'. It prompted festival goers to give up and head home early annoyed with the fact that there was no improvement.
At the end of the night, Chance The Rapper took us to church in hopes of a miracle that would rectify the sound. As well as performing snippets from the new album, he appreciated day one fans by playing favourites from his mixtapes including ‘Lost’ and ‘Everybody’s Something’. Backed by a glorious choir and finale fireworks, Chance’s set was almost enough to apologise for the partly shambolic festival.
With sound also being an issue at last week’s Wireless festival, it raises a question whether London festivals are complete done for or can they turn things around next year...?
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Words: Debbie Ijaduola
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