London’s most popular weekend of musical festivities returned this year with arguably it’s strongest line up ever, and their new Gunnersbury Park location. After cancelled and delayed trains, as well as a lunatic trespassing on the tracks of Holborn’s undergroud station, it was fair to say that my mates and I could have had a better start to our journey. However, this soon became highly irrelevant when we felt the thumping bass of various djs pumping through our drunken veins.
Lovebox champions a carnival atmosphere and this is what makes it like no other weekend festival. You can guarantee a euphoric crowd of 50,000 people looking to party; as soon as we stepped into our first arena this was instantly apparent. The Kopperburg Outsider was curated by none other than certified legend Mike Skinner; we were lucky enough to catch Sian Anderson, a 1 Extra DJ, getting the party started with her set of ferocious grime bangers and hard trap – setting the scene nicely for Skepta’s inevitable headline slot. Star.One were equally as enticing and mixed a host of underground sounds; from Bassline to grime and American rap. £6 for a Kopperbug though? Seems a bit steep to me Lovebox.
As the day progressed, the standard of Acts got better and better. Dave’s set felt like a landmark in his undeniably impressive career. At the age of 20, it bewilders me how much he has achieved and he whipped up a frenzy with his blend of hardcore grime beats and mellow afro trap. Crowd favourites were ‘100 Ms’, one of his most enthralling singles, but I loved the response he got for ‘Calling Me Out’, a chilled out choice on his perfect setlist. Failing to see Mike Skinner, because of a cue that stretched the equivalent length of the great wall of China, filled us with momentary annoyance, until we remembered it was only half an hour until Diplo was to grace the main stage. The multi-talented American artist, best known for being part of Major Lazer and Silk City, caused chaos with his intense blend of Trap and pop bangers. He was the perfect warm up for Skepta, getting the audience more gassed than an exploding petrol station and even causing a girl to dislocate her knee.
As the rain smashed down on 50,000 eagerly waiting Skepta fans, you could feel the anticipation forming in the air. Being one of the most unpredictable artists in the UK, I was interested to see what world Skepta would create for his performance. The set design of giant fans and steel pipes created a scene as if he was about to escape from prison. The weather suited this setting hugely and all hell broke loose once he dropped one of his latest singles ‘Pure Water’, once again fitting the weather perfectly. He stormed through his hour set, playing Konnichiwa classics like ‘Crime Riddim’ and ‘It Ain’t Safe’ whilst bringing out acts like Suspect and Jesse James Solomon for Suspect’s hit single ‘One Way’. The show was a true celebration of the UKs biggest export of music, grime is here to stay and finishing with his recent A$AP Rocky collaboration proved this. ‘Praise The Lord’ has barely been out a month and has clocked up around 80 million Spotify streams; not bad if you ask me.
I need to give a special shout out to the fits Skepta was wearing too, there is not a better dressed man in the UK. Apparently Vince Staples and Wu Tang Clan equally stole the show; the American’s helping to ease the pain of us English getting knocked out of the World Cup and seeing Donald Trump over in our Isles.
Overall Lovebox was a huge success, when really It’s change of location could have made it a disaster waiting to happen. I am thoroughly jealous of anyone returning today.