Festival season really does come and go, it was only just the other month when I was sitting down listing the festivals I need to venture to this summer and now as we enter August we’re nearly done for the year. Sitting right in the middle of the festival season is Lovebox which celebrated its 15th-year last weekend and boasted an impressive lineup of some of the best talents from both the UK and across the pond. Given that I’m now in my mid-20s it was great to have a bit of respite from Wireless and other festivals of its ilk which has now turned into a modern version of Choice FM’s Junior Jam (showing my age there aren’t I).
As I had other commitments on Saturday, I could only attend day 1 of Lovebox, which was sad due to NewGen crafting a stellar lineup on day 2 on the Noisey stage. Nonetheless, Friday was far from average with a lineup that rivalled any other global festival. Entering Victoria Park you meet an almost enchanted fairground that includes live performances from musicians, there were funfair-like rides, a plethora of food options and what most wowed me a free roller disco that had some of the most vibrant DJs blazing the bangers as revellers skated.
Credit: Crack Magazine
While there were a variety of eclectic artists on show at Victoria Park, Kaytranada was the one who made us go the most crazy. The Canadian producer dropped the many bangers from his mesmerising debut album 99.9% with revellers skanking out to his bass-heavy vibes. I think it’s hard to think of an artist whose music is more conducive to the sun, huge speakers and a festival full of ravers. With electronic sounds firmly in our system, we headed to the Corona Sunset stage where Jazzy Jeff was blazing the many old school hip hop bangers that we grew up with and as expected he played his and Will Smith’s summer classic track, “Summertime” that had the sing-along crew at the peak of their powers.
Joekay of Soulection too blessed us with the ranging sounds you hear on Soulection’s Beats 1 Radio show on Apple Music and even threw in some R&B and hip hop classics, from Junior Mafia’s “Get Money” to Aaliyah’s “Hot Like Fire” – given I’m an R&B head the bogle and butterfly dance steps had to be unleashed like it was a BBQ back in the late ’90s. Returning to the Noisey stage, Sampha was the next artist to perform to the Lovebox faithful and despite his mellow sounds he created the most wondrous buzz of the day. Going through his hits on his debut album Process, the Morden-native brought a raw energy to the Noisey Stage that had revellers in a trance to Sampha’s unique sound.
But the best performance of the day came from Solange whose staging captivated her crowd and displayed her much-known creativity. Coming out to the opening track on what I feel was the best album of 2016, A Seat at the Table with “Rise”, you knew right then her performance was going to be a landmark one for Knowles. She galloped through the standout songs from her latest album and brought the Noisey stage to raptures when performing her adored “Cranes in the Sky”. What’s beautiful about seeing Solange perform is her dancing, she seems so free and unhinged with her quirky style of dancing that humanises the celebrity when performing. She even brought out Sampha to perform their collab on “Don’t Touch My Hair”, it was at this point when I realised she was too big for the Noisey stage and easily should’ve been placed on the main stage, as her performance received the most love from revellers at Lovebox on Friday.
After a career break, Frank Ocean is back and performing for his loving fans. The American-crooner was everyone’s most anticipated artist especially following his return from his near 5-year hiatus. I had a gut feeling his performance wouldn’t be to his usual standards and annoyingly I was right. He was late and seemed to have no real care to perform where he mumbled through most tracks and was extremely lazy in his general performance. He also kept restarting his songs for various reasons and completely deaded the vibes that all the other artists had created. While his performance was lacklustre it was evident that Ocean’s performance style is more conducive for intimate small concerts, not your huge festivals., However, given his hiatus and cancelled performance, much credit should be given to Lovebox for their ability to get the great Frank Ocean.