Every time we attend a festival at Victoria Park, it rains. We’re beginning to think that we’re just bad luck for the area.
Our attendance yesterday at the Day One of the Lovebox Weekender was no exception. As we stepped off the bus near the edge of the park, our presence seemed to invoke a light drizzle, which soon pulled itself together and turned into a persistent light rain, to the obvious delight of the nearby ‘Emergency Poncho’ salesman.
Fortunately we didn’t jinx the entire proceedings, and the weather mostly improved for the latter part of the afternoon. Either way, the festival’s spirit wasn’t dampened too much, with tens of thousands of chilled-out Londoners enjoying the live music, the fairground rides, the unusually fabulous food stalls, the silly little sideshows and boutiques and, of course, the bars.
Yesterday’s headline act was Groove Armada, who were sadly as insipid and uninspired as they were the previous year. It’s a telling sign when the biggest cheer of the night accompanies a crowd-cooling rain shower – Groove Armada certainly weren’t doing much to keep the crowd engaged. Even guest vocalist Candi Staton was unable to liven up the dreary proceedings, failing to respond to Groove Armada’s music as well as she had been able to with her own material earlier in the afternoon. Ultimately, the band’s performance was summed up perfectly by the nature of their encore, which consisted of a roadie wandering onto stage and telling everyone to go home, accompanied by a chorus of boos from the crowd.
Fortunately, elsewhere the musical fare was much more entertaining. Roots Manuva and Coldcut were justifiably popular, as were Hot Chip, X-Press 2 and the one-and-only Candi Staton. Human beatbox Shlomo was remarkable (although we pity anyone who has to handle his spittle-infused microphone), and it was fantastic to see the brilliant cardigan-wearing pensioner DJ Derek entertaining the crowd with a superb selection of reggae and ska.
Despite the dampness of the weather and the mediocrity of the headline act, we would say that Day One of the Lovebox Weekender was a qualified success. The prospects for Day Two today look even better, with a more promising weather forecast and Jamiroquai replacing Groove Armada. There are rumours of tickets available on the gate, so get down to Viccy Park sharpish if you fancy it.
If you’re in East London but don’t fancy Lovebox, there are also rumours of tickets on the gate for the Stella Screen showing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in Greenwich Park later this afternoon. Bonus!
Thanks to Matt for the photos.