Lovebox 2018. Film by Deadbeat

Hip comes to Chiswick

Chiswick is generally considered a great place for young families and older people to live, but a cultural and social wasteland as far as young people are concerned. Too expensive to live in once they leave home, swathes of Chiswick youth head east; that’s if they’re not travelling around somewhere in southeast Asia or Australia. In 2018 that all changed. Lovebox and Citadel festivals came to Gunnersbury Park, and suddenly Chiswick was hip, if only for a weekend.

‘Lovebox festival is London’s hip summer music festival, showcasing artists from the worlds of house, techno, hip-hop, R&B and grime across two days. Diverse, vibrant and infectious, it isn’t all about the music at Lovebox, with its site also dotted with a number of extra surprises, including the Bump Roller Disco, a vintage fair, body painting and copious amounts of great food and drink’.

The first Lovebox met with loud grumbling from some local residents – you can read the history here – but artistically it was a huge success, with five star reviews in the Telegraph and the Times. ‘Consistently one of the finest festivals in London’ – Time Out. ‘Childish Gambino and Pharrell Williams steal the show’ – Independent. ‘Childish Gambino stole the show with a passion and vigour that brought old and young together in wonder’.

The second one was equally successful. ‘The 2019 line-up is especially stellar’ said Time Out, ‘with headliners Solange and Chance the Rapper topping a quality bill that includes south London hip hop king Loyle Carner, rising star Lizzo, Northampton rapper Slowthai, hip hop boyband Brockhampton, innovative beatmaker Kaytranada, superstar European DJ Solumun and the legends Cyprus Hill playing their iconic 1993 release ‘Black Sunday’ in full. In short: it’s one not to be missed.

‘Solange intoxicates the smiley revellers’ said the Guardian’s four star review. ‘The relocated event settled into its new home with strong sets from Lizzo, 2 Chainz, J Hus and the blessed Chance the Rapper.’

There was less grumbling from local residents too, after a series of public consultation meetings with the organisers and hosts Gunnersbury CIC led to changes in the positioning of some of the loudspeakers, more stewards on the ground, more portable loos outside the park and access to more public transport for the crowds flooding out at the end of the night – see 2019 article here.

So Lovebox has settled into west London and Chiswick’s youth no longer have to stage a mass exodus to Hackney to enjoy top quality grime. You can even get free tickets if you volunteer to help out, or you live in the immediate area of Gunnersbury Park and win tickets in the ballot. Mamaco gave away 800 pairs of tickets in 2019 across the three days of the two events – Lovebox on Friday and Saturday and Citadel on Sunday.

Festival tickets: