The big one: Lovebox

London's liveliest party returns

The big one: Lovebox

Photographer: Lisa Rocket18 July 2008

What is it?

A weekend of craziness in Hackney’s Victoria Park featuring a selection of the world’s finest DJs and bands. This is one festival that you can be sure of sleeping in a warm and dry bed given that there’s no camping, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let yourself go. Created in 2000 by Tom and Andy from Groove Armada, quality of the sound systems is another guarantee.

When and where?

Midday until 10.30 on Saturday and midday until 10 on Sunday. If you’re keen there’s also an after-party at The End on Sunday night to keep you entertained. Victoria Park is a beautiful enclave of east London that could easily be miles from the city.

Five to watch

Young Knives – (Saturday, Main Stage; Gaymers Great Escape Stage) – The geek-rockers are fantastic live, just check out their Glastonbury performance if you don’t believe us. With two chances to see them, this could be a chance for the boys to roll out some of the old classics.

Manu Chao – (Saturday, Main Stage) – Fresh from his amazing two hour set at Exit Festival, this is your chance to see the Spanish musical genius in the flesh. Having recorded his first album for six years, the Radio Bemba Sound System is ready to take London by storm.

The Flaming Lips – (Sunday, Main Stage) – This lot should be the perfect Sunday night wind-down to the festival. Named as one of 50 bands you have to see before you die by Q Magazine, they have a reputation for putting on some of the best lives shows known to man. Make sure you’re there!  

Trojan Records Soundsystem – (Sunday, LastFM Stage) – Is there anything better than standing in a sunny field listening to reggae? If you agree then Trojan is not to be missed. Selectors Earl Gateshed and Daddy Ad provide the riddims, Superfour and Chucky Banton the rhymes.

Frankie Knuckles – (Saturday, Strangelove Stage) – It’s quite a coup to have got the House legend over to these shores but if anyone could do it, Groove Armada could. Knuckles was largely responsible for changing the landscape of dance music forever in the 80s so this should be one to tell your grandkids about. Watch grown men cry as he drops 'Tears'.

One to miss

Dead Kids – (Sunday, Clash Stage) – Especially if you’re with your girlfriend. Present at most festivals this summer, the electro band’s frontman has a reputation for impromptu snogs with audience members and provoking fights! Nice.
Playing a rare festival date:

Groove Armada – (Saturday, Main Stage) – Festival appearances have been few and far between in the last couple of years but they always save the best for their own baby. Definitely the best place to hear ‘Superstylin’ all summer.

Inside tip

The Metros – (Clash Stage) – South London five-piece who merge classic indie with heavy urban influences. Everyone is having a pop at teenagers right now but this lot aren’t bad.

Worst clash

The Human League vs Das Pop – Now do you see the godfathers of electro-pop or its newest stars. Difficult choice for anyone who loves a synth.

Be at Lovebox if you like...

Your bed (no need for tents or blow-up mattresses at this one), Groove Armada, line-ups jammed packed with quality.
Avoid if you like...

Obsessing about seeing all the acts you want to, leaving the city behind you, making a week of it.

Festival tactics

Work out who you want to see and stick with it. The amount of bands on offer/length of festival means that there is no way you will see everyone.

Fashionista or folky?

Definitely fashionista. Expect to see a fair proportion of over-sized sunglasses and Havaianas. 

Alcohol of choice

Rum and coke normally does the trick on these kind of occasions, especially when it comes to the Trojan soundsytem. Don’t try and bring your own drinks though – it’s strictly forbidden.??

Take your mum score...

6/10. Likely to be one of the most hedonistic festivals on the calendar this year so you may want to leave her at home this time. Saying that, there is an outstanding choice of music on offer so she could probably find something to occupy her while you’re tearing up the dancefloor.

Lovebox takes place in Victoria Park, London, from on July 19 and 20.

by Ed Aarons

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