The festival season is fast approaching and many are coming face to face with the question: what festival do I go to this year? As an R&B or Hip-Hop fan, there’s only really one option: Lovebox Festival. It is the place to go for the crème de la crème of modern music, and this year it’s looking to be better than ever.
For 17 years Lovebox has become a hub for the hottest musicians in London, established by Groove Armada and attracting huge names like Jamiroquai, Dizzee Rascal, Snoop Dogg, D'Angelo, N.E.R.D., Childish Gambino and more. This year the festival is getting ready to host music legends like Solange, Chance the Rapper, Four Tet, Annie Mac, Brockhampton and many other great performers in the industry.
More than just the headliners, this festival has continued to offer a space for music fans to express their own creativity through incredible fashion. Lovebox goers rock up adorned in beautiful looks that push the boundary of what's hot, showcasing trending styles through an outlet that is beyond your average daywear.
But you can’t just simply rock up to a festival and hope for the best, there is a certain amount of preparation involved. How to get there, maybe where to stay, spending money, what to wear (with help from some lovely people), what to bring, what not to bring – don’t worry. We've got your back with this ultimate survival guide to Lovebox Festival: the ins and the outs, the little known truths and the easily missed important bits!
This year the festival returns to Gunnersbury Park, having moved there last year from its usual occupancy at Victoria Park in London. Tickets are still available for either the whole weekend or single days here.
It’s spread across two days, the 12th and 13th of July the first of which is a Friday, so make sure you can book the time off work or skip a couple lectures. On Friday doors open at 2pm and on Saturday it's at 12pm, so make sure you turn up on time because there will be no admittance after 8pm.
Another key bit of info to remember is that there is no re-admission, so once you leave the festival grounds that’s it, there’s no going back in! We’ll let you know down below what the kinds of things to bring are to make sure you don’t need to leave at all.
Once you do leave the festival grounds, and because calling it a night in London at the curfew time of just 10:30pm feels like a cop out, make sure to stick around for some huge after parties. Head into the city centre for venues like Fabric, XOYO, Ministry Of Sound and Egg London that have keep the party going after hours in previous editions.
Also, don’t go turning up with a tent, this is not a camping music festival.
Headlining this year is the incredible Solange Knowles, who announced a new album was coming back in October 2018. She claims the material will have jazz at its core, but with plenty of electronic and hip-hop drum and bass to 'bang and make your trunk rattle'. The singer made lasting impressions to audiences at the festival in 2017 with her performance of 'Don't Touch My Hair', and no doubt they'll be pleased to see her take centre stage as a Friday headliner this year.
Joining Solange in the lineup is Chance the Rapper - Saturday's headliner. The lineup news follows the announcement of the rapper's debut album due to be released this summer, a collection of songs dedicated to his fans. Joining him on the 13th is Brockhampton, a hip-hop boy band who already have an army of hardcore fans.
The current line-up is down below, but you’ll be able to get your hands on a programme on the day for exact times for a couple ££s, or check the website that morning and print it out/ screenshot it to plan your day out.
Stay tuned for more information on the 2019 lineup and stage info!
Okay so you’ve planned what you’re wearing and what you’re bringing - time to plan how to get there.
By Car: Just don’t. Driving in London is a nightmare, and competition for parking spaces is bad enough when there’s not a giant festival on next door? If you want to try your luck, there is a small car park near Gunnersbury Park accessible via Popes Lane, just look for signs to Capel Manor.
By Bus: Potentially your best bet – if you’re travelling from the Acton Town direction, you can jump on the E3 and get off by the Pope Lane entrance. If you’re coming from the South Ealing direction, take the 65 route and get off near Pope Lane, you will have a bit of walk.
Alternatively, you can catch the H91 route from Hounslow or Hammersmith direction, which will stop along the A4 Great West Road.
By Train: The nearest train station is Gunnersbury which operates on the London Overground, but Kew Bridge (South West Trains), Brentford (South West Trains) and South Acton (London Overground) are all within about 30 minutes’ walk.
If you’re travelling into London, the nearest major train station is Clapham Junction which can take you to Kew Bridge via South West Trains, although Euston Station and King’s Cross can easily get you there via the tube.
By Tube: The nearest tube stations are Acton Town and South Ealing, both just 10 minutes’ walk from the park. Acton Town operates on both the Piccadilly and District Line, whilst you can access South Ealing via the Piccadilly Line.
By Air: Firstly, whoever is considering flying in, we salute you. Gunnersbury park is close to Heathrow Airport, about 22 minutes by car, so that will be your best bet for flying in.
Make sure to check out Travel for London to plan your journey perfectly!
This isn’t a camping festival, so if you’re planning on doing both days or are travelling a distance getting a place to stay will be important.
Lovebox’s official accommodation partner is hotels.com, where you can book nights and earn discounts free nights and more here.
If that’s a bit pricey, make sure to check out sites like Airbnb or Couchsurfing– Couchsurfing usually free but it operates on the premise that if you stay with someone, you’ll also be able to one day offer your home too.
Hostelbookers will let you book in for hostels from as little as £10 a night, like Hostels.com. Ideally, find yourself a nice friend who will let you kip on the sofa for a night, you’re bound to know someone who lives in London. Just be extra nice, bring them a bottle of something good or treat them to takeaway one night – just make sure to clean up after yourself! There is nothing worse than a messy guest.
Something to sit on/ in
Hopefully, the sun is shining, you’re with your mates, the music is drifting around you – it’s likely you’re going to want to sit down and soak it in so make sure you have something to sit on! Or, make sure you’re wearing something you mind sitting on the ground in.
You can never trust British weather anyway, so that ground has a 50/50 chance of being bone dry or a little bit muddy. If you don’t want to sacrifice a blanket or spend a whole day carrying it around, I find that a bag for life is the right size and thickness to keep your bum dry on the ground, and it’s practically weightless.
Something to keep you dry
Like we said, never ever trust British weather. As it stands, the weather looks like it’s going to be fairly mild that weekend but don’t take the risk and make sure you have something to keep you dry.
Umbrellas are kind of futile at a festival – you’re going to be blocking everyone whilst not actually staying that dry – so just bunging a clear poncho in your bag is a good bet. You can find them on amazon for pennies, and they’ll leave you hands-free, dry, and with people still able to see your outfit. Also, it’ll double up as something to sit on.
Whilst we’re at it, it’s just as likely that the weather will be scorching, so make sure you have some sun cream on you in case you have to prepare against sun burn as well. Be aware that only small quantities are permitted - and aerosols are strictly prohibited.
There are always so many amazing stalls at a festivals, and you don’t want to miss out on the chance to get some merch (how will people know you went to a festival otherwise?!) so it’s best to make sure you have some spending money on you.
You could probably get away with just bringing your card as festivals are increasingly getting cash machines on site (Lovebox have confirmed they’ll have some) , and shops can get portable card readers easily now too, but I always find it a bit risky.
All of those things could break, I could lose my card, and the queues for them will be huge – its not worth it so I make sure to bring a little more than I intend to spend in cash for emergencies.
You may need to ID to enter with your ticket, and Lovebox allows a variety of identification including: current passport, current UK driver’s licence or provisional licence, Validate UK, CitizenCard, Oyster Photocard, NUS Card, and a national identity card. Make sure you bring the original document, as photocopies won't be accepted.
You’ll also need some ID if you fancy buying some drinks, so it just makes sense to have it on you.
What good is it having your ID if you haven't got your tickets? What good is any of this stuff without them?! Check, check and check again they are stored safely with you. If you haven't ordered your tickets yet, you can find all the ticket-sellers at the bottom of the article, where you'll be able to compare prices and find the best deal available. Alternatively, click here to see all the Lovebox dates and tickets.
It’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re outside at a festival like Lovebox, which is why they recommend bringing an empty bottle with you, which you can fill up at their water taps easily.
Although these pocket-sized cameras are becoming redundant right? You obviously can’t bring in a huge professional camera, but most phones now offer a camera quality almost as a good so you’re probably set to capture all of those insta-moments.
Portable Phone Charger
This is honestly a game changer. Why restrict yourself to airplane mode and the odd text when you could be live-tweeting the experience, sending Snap Chats and going live when Childish Gambino dives into Redbone.
My personal favourites come from Anker, who offer affordable power banks that are amazing. The Astro E1 can fit into your pocket and can store about two charges for an iPhone 7, or more for older phones. What’s best is that it works quickly, so you can just plug everything in, put it in your bag and within an hour it’ll be nearly full.
Now to carry all of these things, you obviously need a bag, but the bag itself can be just as important as the things inside of it. It has to be something you can dance around in, so I wouldn’t recommend any purse-style one shoulder bags, and it shouldn’t be made of a rigid material because when people are getting a little squished in the crowd it’s not going to be comfortable (I have made that mistake before). It's important to make sure bags are no bigger than A4 in size, according to the latest safety info provided by Lovebox.
I’d recommend something light, that goes over both shoulders and is made of a soft material that can take a little bit of wear and tear from a moving crowd. Also, try avoid paler colours that will stain easily.
Weapons, drugs, laughing gas, glass – it’s obvious to be honest. You can’t take any food or drink into the festival itself, just an empty bottle for water. If you’re worried whether it’ll be allowed in, chances are it won’t so you’re best to just leave it, and you can rest assured that there will be plenty of delicious places inside to eat at. Check here for the full list of what's not allowed.
Now something many Lovebox Festival goers take seriously is the look. It’s like London Street Fashion taken even further, with more glitter, gold and sheer fabric so if you feel like it, prepare to make a statement.
But do keep in mind, you're going to be jumping around, jostling in crowds and standing up for the whole day so make sure to think practical too! We asked some of our favourite fashion bloggers who've hit up Lovebox in the past for their tips on festival-wear:
We asked Siana Westley, who went to Lovebox in 2017, for her tips on what to wear to the festival and here's what she had to say:
"Lovebox is a festival where you have the opportunity to REALLY express yourself and go all out! Since its a 'day' festival, you have time to prepare lots of glitter makeup looks beforehand and experiment with your outfit, hair & makeup.
This summer, I am going to be following two trends for festival season which is anything sequin, glitter and sparkle. Also lots of animal prints such as cow print, dalmatian print and leopard print! More is more!
My top 3 MUST HAVE items for Lovebox are:
1. Mobile phone - To record awesome performances, take quirky snaps and keep in contact with friends.
2. VIP passes - If you're looking for shorter queues, cleaner loos, private drinks & food bar!
3. Comfy shoes - You will be walking and dancing for hours so anything super comfy!"
If you're considering doing a glitter make-up look, make sure to check out Siana's YouTube Channel for more ideas and tutorials, and you just have to peep at her Instagram account for some amazing outfit inspiration!
We also caught up with London blogger and fashion Mogul Catface to get her advice on Festival fashion, and it seems 'Mystical Girl & Cosmic Goddess Vibes' are the mood this year.
"One of the reasons why I love festivals like Lovebox is that you get to dress up and unleash your inner cosmic goddess or glitter queen."
"My hair is always on point with some colourful hair extensions from the Catface Store and I always make time to have them put them in Studio Catface in Brixton. In the last few years, I’ve been too busy to plan my outfits but I’m a fantastic hoarder."
"When I feel like going all out, I reach for sequins, I like skirts and shorts with textured fabrics, crop tops are also really cute, for girls like me that can be found in the moshpit at any given point, it's really good to wear comfy trainers that you won’t miss so much – just in case you have too much fun. The weather in London can be unpredictable so it’s good to have a light throw over a trophy jacket, windbreaker, or a denim jacket."
While we know everyone's in it for the music - how could you not be with the likes of Ms. Solange and Chance the Rapper taking you through the weekend? But Lovebox keeps on giving, with plenty of bonus activities to make the festival experience that much more memorable. We're still awaiting all the details for this year, but to give you a taste of what you might find, here's what happened last year...
Lovebox partnered up with several huge stage partners to bring the best experience possible including Noisey, Jackmaster, Corona SunSets, Kopparberg Outsider and Shy FX, with Mike Skinner (The Streets) and arts collective Murkage hosting a massive under the radar party.
Festival goers lived out their rap fantasies with Hip-Hop Karaoke – seeing lots of Drakes, Rihanna's and Beyonce's evolve.
The Chapel of Love(box) created the coolest wedding party you will ever see, allowing festival-goers to (fake) marry their best friend/s, dance down the aisle and groove to the best of cheesy disco with some crazy aunties to boot. There was also a confession booth, which divulged some of the naughtiest and raunchy romance stories, and prizes were awarded for the best of them.
The Sweet Spot also accommodated everyone's musical needs with some of London’s finest MC’s, spoken word artists and underground musicians alongside plenty of global DJ’s.
Food wise, there were ample cocktail bars and street food spread around catering to every dietary requirement!
And anyone still in search of excitement found it at Love Specs Aztec-Disco Golf Challenge; an amazing game for charity. For just £1 and a good putt, festival-goers were entered into a competition to win Junkyard Gold Club tickets, visors, T-Shirts, UK festival tickets and more!
Shoppers were also delighted with the Beauty Parlours and Vintage Markets selling plenty of amazing treats to take home.
Well, now you've got the whole plan sorted, it's time to kick back and let time pass until Lovebox Festival goes ahead in July. You can use our playlist below inspired by Lovebox 2019 to make the time go a bit quicker, featuring all of the headliners and biggest acts set to take over Gunnersbury Park.
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