Now more than a decade old, Lovebox Festival is London’s biggest summer party. Founded in 2002 by Andy Cato and Tom Findlay of Groove Armada, Lovebox returns for 2014 with a line-up very much in keeping with its passionate and party-starting booking policy. In east London’s Victoria Park over on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th July, Chase & Status and M.I.A. will headline. In a UK exclusive, New York hip-hop titan Nas will perform his game-changing debut album ‘Illmatic’ in full, while bass pop icon Katy B and Harlem MC A$AP Rocky will also play. Across several stages, many more artists and DJs including Soul II Soul, David Rodigan, Annie Mac and The Horrors have been confirmed. Lovebox Festival 2014 has partnered with a list of top London nightspots for a series of after-parties and late night events. Want to dance until the sun comes up? You can.
These late night offerings are in the spirit of Lovebox Festival’s origins. In summer 2002, a short taxi ride from Victoria Park, Lovebox began life as a resident night at a club called 93 Feet East on Brick Lane. The next summer Lovebox staged an outdoor event to celebrate its first birthday. Relocated to Clapham Common, Lovebox 2003 featured a main stage and some smaller dance arenas. 10,000 people partied as the event turned one. The capacity was upped to 20,000 in 2004 when a sister event was also staged in Newcastle. Then, in 2005 Lovebox added a day and moved to a new location in Victoria Park. 2007 and 2008 saw Lovebox move to Dublin too. The 2009 edition, based only in London had a vastly increased capacity of 50,000. In 2010 acts were spread over three days for the first time. 2010 also marked the first year that festival founders Groove Armada did not play at Lovebox. The event was spread over three days until last year, when the decision was made to revert to a two day event.
Having started life as a dance-oriented festival rooted in club culture, Lovebox has expanded to include pop, rock, hip-hop and bass music. Groove Armada played their first outdoor event alongside Norman Jay and others in 2003. Rob Da Bank, Mr Scruff and more performed in 2004 before Mylo and Gilles Peterson played as Lovebox moved east. Jamiroquai, Jimmy Cliff, Hot Chip and Candi Staton marked Lovebox’s most diverse year yet in 2006, bringing funk-pop, reggae and disco to the bill. Guitar music arrived in force for the first time in 2007, in the shape of Blondie, The B52s and Super Furry Animals. Goldfrapp, The Flaming Lips, The Human League and Manu Chao topped another eclectic bill in 2008, before Florence & The Machine, N.E.R.D., Friendly Fires, Simian Mobile Disco, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Duran Duran delighted thousands in 2009. Local MC Dizzee Rascal and imposing pop songstress Grace Jones hit Victoria Park in 2010. Blondie returned in 2011, the New York punk legends found themselves alongside Snoop Dogg and Scissor Sisters. Jones, Hot Chip and Groove Armada headlined over three days in 2012. Last year’s instalment saw rappers Plan B and Azealia Banks storm the stage after Jurassic 5, D’Angelo and more had played.
Lovebox line-ups are consistent, rich and designed to start a party. Lovebox 2014 is no different. Alongside its headline acts, this year’s line-up collates hip-hop talent (Joey Bada$$, Gaslamp Killer), uncompromising dance DJs (Joy Orbison, Cyril Hahn, Adam Beyer) and more. Upcoming LA siren BANKS and carnival indie band Crystal Fighters can be found buried like treasure in a bill including The Horrors, Scuba, Mount Kimbie, Hercules & Love Affair and Bonobo.
Lovebox 2014 is the only place a UK festival crowd can see Nas rekindle the fire that made him one of hip-hop’s biggest stars when he plays ‘Illmatic’ in full. Chase & Status’ are set to enhance their reputation as an incendiary festival band, while genre-bending singer M.I.A.’s set will surely be controversial and essential.
The Lovebox crowd will head for the exits on both days with options. Kubicle, Krankbrother, Horse Meat Disco, Fierce Not Shady, The Hydra and more are staging special club nights after the music on the main stages stops. This summer, Lovebox promises to be an unforgettable party. Just as it has been since 2002.
Click here to view the full Lovebox 2014 Lineup + Buy Tickets
Words by Ben Homewood
Images courtesy of Lovebox