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Lovebox festival guide

London’s coolest festival happens every year in east London. Here’s why you absolutely have to hit the party in Victoria Park this July

© Morgan O'Donovan

Are you ready, London? Exclusive to Time Out, here’s the line-up for one of the city’s biggest party weekenders.

Lovebox returns to Victoria Park in July 2016 for another two days of tasty live music, DJs, dancing and more general frolics than you can shake your moneymaker at. Check our Lovebox festival 2015 listing to see what happened at the last event and buy Lovebox tickets. For now, here are 12 things that made Lovebox 2015 unmissable.

Twelve reasons to love Lovebox


A message to you, from Rudi

That message is: ‘Feel the Love’. After smashing the charts with their debut album ‘Home’ a few years ago, Rudimental went back into their Hackney studio Major Tom’s to work on their second LP. Now they’re breaking out their new set of roof-raising, genre-humping dance anthems just down the road as Lovebox’s Friday headliners. Their latest single ‘Bloodstream’ features a guest appearance by Ed Sheeran, and still manages to sound awesome. We can’t wait to hear the rest.


The return of the Dogg

Snooooo-oop Dogg is headlining Saturday night at Lovebox. It’s been well over a decade since he and Pharrell Williams scored a huge hit with their stripped-to-the-bone rap anthem ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’. But hold on to your oversized hats, because Pharrell is producing Snoop’s new album, ‘Bush’. Might it include a floorfiller as massive as ‘Drop It…’? Could Mr ‘Happy’ make a cameo? Has Snoop killed off his Rasta alter ego Snoop Lion for good? All these questions should be answered at Lovebox.


New sounds from Hot Chip

Putney’s finest purveyors of synthpop shifted back into action last month, releasing a wistful and deeply funky new track called ‘Huarache Lights’ that measures up to any of their fleet of hits dating back to 2004. We’ve just heard the rest of their new album, and it’s full of the kind of brilliantly eccentric bangers that Hot Chip do best. They may not have fancy, shiny helmets, but if they carry on like this they’ll almost have beaten Daft Punk at their own game. Witness their return at Lovebox and shake every last bit of your body.


Slinky R&B all over the shop

Our favourite Brixton girl Jessie Ware transformed into a proper pop star last year, dropping her massive second album ‘Tough Love’ and a host of top-quality slow jam singles. On a similar vibe, Lovebox also plays host to the Swedish masters of steamy, brainy avant-R&B Little Dragon, so we can confidently predict a slight upturn in London’s birthrate midway through April 2016.


An ‘Uptown Funk’ danceathon

If you thought you’d heard enough of Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’ already, just wait till the summer hits. Once the sun comes out, the sound of Bruno Mars kissing himself will be utterly inescapable – nowhere more so than when Ronson plays a DJ set at this year’s fest. Don’t believe us? Just watch. 


Hip hop heavyweights

As well as Snoop Dogg’s headline set, fans of that boom bap should get ready for membrane-busting ’90s veterans Cypress Hill plus a pair of modern rap greats. Gap-toothed Danny Brown has earned a position as one of hip hop’s most talented eccentrics, while bolshy, beardy MC Action Bronson (a former professional chef) roped in Mark Ronson and Chance The Rapper for his latest LP ‘Mr Wonderful’.


The world’s most sophisticated disco

Though he wound up LCD Soundsystem years ago, disco king James Murphy has been keeping busy. In 2013 he teamed up with the 2ManyDJs boys to create Despacio: a custom-built ring of speakers designed to knock your socks off and let the music breathe. Intended as a paean to the original, freewheeling days of Ibizan Balearica, it’s gone down a storm at sell-out events all over Europe, and will be in situ throughout Lovebox.


Two far-out producers

Eyes up for a sweaty AV set by bonkers electronic genre-collider Squarepusher, who’s taken to wearing a visor that displays graphics generated by his frenetic music. You never know: maybe in six months’ time they’ll be available to buy on Asos. Just as exciting is tripped-out beatmaster Bonobo, who played a packed-out live show at last year’s Lovebox. Clearly he enjoyed himself, as he’s back in 2015 for a bop-inducing DJ set.


Folks going kray for Kay

Blissed-out R&B may be all the rage, but DJ and producer Kaytranada is storming the field at the moment. He’s sexed up Janet Jackson and Busta Rhymes (musically speaking, via some luscious remixes) and once told an audience: ‘Y’all motherfuckers better dance and shit, instead of staying on your goddamn phones.’ You have been warned.


Incredible up-and-comers

Aside from the headliners, there’s a huge list of A-grade, Time Out-certified upcoming greatness lined up across both days. For one, we suggest checking out Dornik: once Jessie Ware’s drummer and now an MJ-inspired cosmic funk singer poised for big things. There’s Little Simz, a young MC from Islington whose postmodern flow is a thing of wonder, plus Raury, a rapper and singer from Atlanta who had a star vocal turn on SBTRKT’s album last year. And don’t miss teenage London MC Novelist, who’s one of the stars of the new grime wave.


Deep DJ delights

As always at Lovebox, both days boast a huge selection of globally loved selectors. Two of the UK’s finest, Ben UFO and Joy Orbison, will be going back-to-back behind the decks: prepare to see a slab of Vicky Park transformed into a sublimely sweaty dancefloor. You can also get your fix of deep house, disco, techno and bassy bangers from aces including Heidi and Kim Ann Foxman, Kerri Chandler, Jackmaster, Scuba and Dusky.


Barcelona’s premier party crew

Elrow at Row 14 is one of Barcelona’s most famous club nights, run by the Arnau family who have been putting on parties in and around the city for more than 70 years. As well as having cool DJs, their out-of-this-world bashes have involved giant inflatables, street theatre, man-sized table football, confetti cannons, mazes and even a special Elrow currency. We can’t wait to see what kind of Catalonian party magic they bring to Lovebox.