Gunnersbury Park, London
The relocated event settled into its new home with strong sets from Lizzo, 2 Chainz, J Hus and the blessed Chance the Rapper
With East London’s Victoria Park now home to All Points East, competitors have been forced to disperse. For Lovebox, that’s meant an unexpected new chapter on the South Ealing/Acton borders. After clearing intense levels of security, a largely Gen Z crowd mainlined Carlsberg and donned festival must-haves including Stormzy-esque utility vests and face jewels. They were a smiley and lightly engaged bunch; the appearance of outlandish, Segway-riding rapper 2 Chainz dressed as a tennis ball raised few eyebrows on Friday.
Similarly, Saturday afternoon saw Four Tet, whose Brixton Academy dates were among the hottest tickets of 2018, draw fewer revellers than you might have expected, while a healthy crowd attended a set by Belgian techno doyenne Charlotte de Witte. Even Friday headliner Solange’s intoxicating set failed to fully enthrall through no fault of her own, with singalongs for hits including Cranes in the Sky and Don’t Touch My Hair. In the chatter between songs, she mused on her faith and said how grateful she was to see black and brown faces in the audience.
Perhaps predictably, the crowds were most taken with the artists dominating the charts. Among them was afroswing/rap favourite J Hus, whose set ran the gamut from breakout hit Dem Boy Paigon to the anthem Bouff Daddy. While he often cut a slightly shy figure on stage, an appearance from contemporary Dave made things more bombastic – though, happily, the latter refrained from his party trick of bringing up members of the audience. Or Lizzo, whose body-positive pop and a burst of No Scrubs before heartache anthem Jerome had everyone singing along despite the patchy sound.