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Well, that weekend certainly ticked the ‘LOVE’ Box

Lovebox, the seven year old festival held in Victoria Park, is often dubbed London’s most fashionable festival and this year stood as proof that the festival gets more stylish the older it gets. A lot of new festivals have sprung up over the past five years and some, particularly city based events, either lack any original though or try far too hard. Lovebox manages to be all style while keeping the substance – and does it all with the most casual nonchalance.

Friday’s line up held an urban, mainstream direction with Dizzee Rascal and Chase and Status leading the bill. I gave the Friday a miss, but my 21 year old sister managed to rave along to a dirty set from Chase and Staus with Status’s actual mum. Gangster.

The rest of the weekend flowed smoothly back and forth between gangster and full blown camp gay. The line up was all together more diverse and while Saturday and Sunday boasted big name headliners Roxy Music and Grace Jones, both are certainly unlikely to be grouped alongside Dizzee in the mainstream category.

On Saturday fashion page favourite Paloma Faith played a predictably flawless set, though the most exciting thing about the performance was her velvet fan get-up. It might have something to with why the soulful redhead seems to grace the fashion pages a whole lot more than the music pages of the press. The day only got better from that point onwards; Wild Beasts showed they deserve the recent Mercury music prize nomination with a beautiful set while Midnight Juggernauts thrashed out a long set of high energy tracks mid-afternoon on the Gaymers Stage.

In need of a boost in the afternoon, the NYC Downlow stage was the place to head. Fresh from Glastonbury and transported to Hackney, it felt at home with its transvestites and grimy underground New York club theme. Notting Hill’s YoYo DJs went up against Work It before hip hop’s biggest guilty pleasure Tim Westwood played a set rammed full with about 15 years of sweaty classics. Punters were even treated to giveaways of Durex condoms with ‘Tim Westwood says, strap it up before you slap it up’. Wise words.

The end of the night proved difficult as headlines Roxy Music clashed with Grandmaster Flash on the Rizla stage and Empire Of The Sun on the Gaymers stage. A dash between all three left us feeling like we’d managed to miss most of three brilliant live performances, but we were able to catch two acts most of Lovebox’s young audience would have never otherwise seen, while also catching 15 minutes of a band that critics can’t seem to sing the praises of enough this festival season, Empire Of The Sun.

Sunday, while more subdued due to the high percentage of Saturday night hangovers, still held an atmosphere of friendly excitement that a lot of festivals can never recreate. Helped by a massively camp line up; the poster for the Sunday stated itself that ‘Lovebox gets out and out FIERCE on Sunday!!!’. The main stage was populated for most of the day by revellers lazily watching acts sat down and from afar, while the Rizla stages line up of Hot Chip DJs and The Two Bears (also boasting Joe from Hot Chip) meant queues to get in and rampant raving throughout.

Hot Chip also played on the main stage and though the band have always been a good live act, the new album has added some classic tracks such as I Feel Better that just have to be heard live. Grace Jones headlined with amazing energy and drama, she seemed the perfect end to a truly unique festival.

The highlight of the whole festival, however, was a broken-legged Peaches. With one leg strapped into a bright pink cast and slung into a matching wheel-chair, or wheel-throne as it looked more like, Peaches gave the best performance in years. Joined on stage with Danny Dangler, a naked man with a great set of tits, peaches tore full throttle through classics such as Fuck The Pain Away, as well as playing new songs from last year’s I Feel Cream Release.

Words – Charlotte McEleney

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