Lovebox 2014 – Victoria Park, London
With temperatures rising to some of the hottest this year, Lovebox certainly picked the perfect weekend to fall on. Just a month after Field Day Festival took over Victoria Park in London, Lovebox returned to the location, promising impressive stage productions and a flurry of fresh exciting new acts. I had been to Lovebox previously about three years beforehand and hadn’t been especially impressed with the set-up and organisation of the event. I was ready to give it a second chance.
Unfortunately due to having to cover another event, I was unable to attend the Friday festivities in Victoria Park, which left me with just the Saturday to indulge in what Lovebox had to offer. I decided to head to the event early so that I could catch as many acts as possible in the day. I believe that the acts that perform during the day at festivals really give you a feel for the event. Performing during the day when the majority of people are yet to arrive results in the artist having to work especially hard with the crowd they have. For the acts later in the evening this is just not an issue due to the sheer numbers at the event.
Getting to the festival at around mid-day I decided to walk around the site and take in what stages and facilities Lovebox were offering. The stages were all very professionally done with some extremely well designed structures. Yes, I’m looking at you Nando’s stage. Music and chicken….what more could you want? Despite all the stages being of a professional and well done nature, I would just like to take this stage to point out that I was extremely disappointed by the bar positions that were dotted around the event. Almost every single bar had a comically long line. I understand that festivals are busy places and that there are bound to be lines for drinks. However, when it’s 2pm and the you are finding yourself in a 30 minute line, you know there is an issue. This hiccup continued to be a problem through the day as more and more people turned up and the lines just became longer and longer. This is something Lovebox really need to address next year.
I headed down to the Big Top stage for the majority of the afternoon to see Klangkarussel, Bondax and Mount Kimbie. Despite the heat, all three performances were extremely energetic, attracting a huge crowd to the tent. Live vocals were performed by Will Heard for Klangkarussel, followed by Kate Stewart and Zac Abel for Bondax. After an eye opening show by Mount Kimbie, a group i’ve never really had a chance to follow, I headed back up to the main stage for Nas. There had been a lot of hype before the festival advertising the fact that this was going to be an exclusive UK performance of his 20 year old album ‘Illmatic’. Upon arriving at the stage it was clear that this ‘hype’ had taken its toll. The place was packed. From the moment Nas started performing, to the moment he laid down the microphone at the end of his allotted time, there was not a single vacant position in front of that stage. The one thing I will bring up at this point is sound system. It was around this kind of time in the afternoon, that it became apparent there were some serious sound issues on the main stage. Nas performed very strongly, displaying his years of experience, but no one can do anything when the sound starts to dip randomly through each song. Luckily for Nas, it was towards the end of his performance, that this started happening. M.I.A’s act was another matter. Her entire performance was ruined. Her voice was inaudible above the backing track, and after numerous attempts to get it turned up, she cut her set short 25 mins early and headed off the stage. A complete disaster.
In conclusion, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the entire event. Despite seeing some extremely good performances and also some good stage productions, I felt that there were still quite a few issues that Lovebox needed to address and take more time over. The bar issue needs fixing by next year without a doubt, and regarding the sound problems, what artist is going to want to perform at an event that is becoming renowned for sound issues? Not many. I will be interested to see if the next event is any different and hope they can iron out such problems at the 2015 edition.
Words: Sam Owers