It’s Lovebox tradition for Sunday celebrate to London’s diversity by hailing the LGBT community in a day of technicoloured raving that sees gay pride, fabulous drag queens swapping heels for wellies and a headliner who is an icon in all communities – gay, straight and beyond. This year’s Lovebox was no different, with Chaka Khan and Grace Jones taking the lead. Candice and Tara were down there to report.
As I waited around in the Brands Tent for Sam Sparro to come and take a photo in front of a terrible, cheap handbag manufacturer I was distracted by the whispers and faffing of the staff members; “Chaka Khan is coming, so is Lana Del Rey and Jay Electronica“. Before I could even begin to get my head round what those collagen road-kill lips would look like in real life I was caught stunned by the appearance of a incredibly glamourous 5″5 woman in a full denim suit and a perfectly blow dried red mane, Chaka Khan had arrived. Gracious, calm and beautiful, it felt like I was in the presence of a distant family member whom I hadn’t seen in a while, she was SO polite. After collecting a few bits, talking to old friends and taking photos with complete strangers, Chaka Khan headed over to the main stage where she smoked a cigarette and headed upstairs to the biggest, most publicised tent at the festival.
After spending the majority of my day stuck backstage with work duties, I literally sprinted to the other end of the festival to catch Azari & III‘s Lovebox performance. I’ve received press releases for the Canadian House outfit for almost a year, however it wasn’t until a few months ago that I really paid attention. I flashed my wristbands and media pass and managed to get right onto the stage to dance to the futuristic grooves pounding from the drummer & keyboard player. Fronted by two all-singing, all-dancing vocalists, Starving Yet Full and Fritz Helder wore incredible costumes that made them look like freedom fighters of the intergalactic future with some of the best choreography I’ve witnessed in a while. The crowd of young, old, straight, gay, male and female House-music revellers went crazy to the quartet’s hits such as “Manic”, “Hungry For The Power” and “Reckless”. My second favourite performance of the entire festival (the first being Chaka Khan) and I urge you to buy their self titled album, or to see them live in the near future. Avant garde production with a nostalgic soul and a hedonistic message, Azari & III are the future!
The sun was so high and hot on Sunday. Walking from Shoreditch High Street to Vicky park, I cursed TFL and my all black everything outfit and followed hipsters and trannies to the highly anticipated LOVEBOX festival.
Once I’d navigated the fifteen entrances (seriously, whoever thought that multiple entrances was a boss idea, should just par themselves) I was safely in the midst of what can only be described as park filled with Queens and Queers. Having thoroughly enjoyed the hipster heavy turnout on Friday, Sundays crowd was definitely more for the LGBT set.
Men in six inch heels and balaclavas, women walking hand in hand with their other halves and families, that obviously decided to make the best out the very decent weather.
Approaching the main stage, the powerful vocals of Sam Sparro enveloped the growing crowds, with many losing their mind when he broke into everyone’s guilty pleasure smash ‘ Black & Gold’.
With the weather still playing nice and the crowd growing by the minute, I decided to put my Access All Area’s pass to work. Weaving through the crowd, I headed backstage. Tiny trailer like contraptions were labelled with names like: Lana, Khan and Jones. I ignored an overwhelming rush to pose alongside the one I think I favor the most and headed to the Tia Maria stall and indulged in a few cocktails while nattering away with IAMACAMERA and LDR’s stylist; Johnny Blue Eyes, who I would like to return as in another life.
From the corner of my eye, there she was…CHAKA KHAN. All red weave and a denim catsuit, even if my mouth was catching flies, I hope she couldn’t spot me staring from behind my Ray Bans unlike the very unsubtle Ginger Spice. Yes, a very waspish looking Geri Halliwell was there…
While nosing over the gifting courtesy of Paul’s Booteek, I was invited to meet Lana Del Rey. When in Rome…Slight in frame with high backcombed barnet, she spoke in hush tones about how ‘excited she was to be playing in her fav city’ even if she was ‘super tired’ through the beautiful face and shy act seemed to be a young woman who could do with having a week off in bed, but this was the life she’d always wanted.
‘Now my life is sweet like cinnamon, like a fuc*ing dream I’m living in…’ Saying my goodbyes and grabbing another cocktail (those things go down far better when they’re free, eh?!) I made my way out to the park to the sounds of Chic blowing ‘I’m coming out’ My inner 18yr old studio 54 homosexual was suddenly freed and there I was swishing my hips and grinding on men I had never met but were just happy to be there, under the sun, celebrating LOVE.
This was my first festival experience. While it wasn’t dope enough to make me even think about attending one where you sleep outside…on the floor…IN A TENT(!), it did make me understand the overall attraction. London is such a city while money wise, it’s expensive, freedom of expression is dirt-cheap. LOVEBOX showed how we as a city are able to get over ourselves, forget that TFL has parred us once again and have a PIMMS, a cupcake and enjoy each others company.