Top tips and info for making the most of Lovebox Festival this year
The festival season is fast approaching and many are coming face to face with the question: what festival do I go to this year? If you’re 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. The festival was established by Groove Armada in 2002 and regularly attracts huge names. These include Jamiroquai, Dizzee Rascal, Snoop Dogg, D’Angelo, N.E.R.D., Childish Gambino and more.
This year the festival is getting ready to host artists like Tyler, the Creator, Disclosure, Khalid, Charli XCX and FKA twigs, along with many other fantastic performers.
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, what to bring, what not to bring.
We’ve got your back with this ultimate survival guide to Lovebox Festival. Learn more about the ins and outs, the little known truths and the easily missed important bits!
Lovebox Festival basics
This year Lovebox Festival is back in Gunnersbury Park. It moved there in 2018 from its old home at Victoria Park in London. Tickets are still available for either the whole weekend or single days here.
The festival’s spread across three days on Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June 2020. As the first day is a Friday, make sure you can book the time off work or skip a few lectures. Doors open at 2pm on Friday and 12pm on Saturday and Sunday. Make sure you turn up on time as there will be no admittance after 8pm.
Another key bit of info to remember is that there is no re-admission. Once you leave the festival grounds, that’s it – there’s no going back in! We’ll let you know below what kinds of things to bring so you don’t need to leave at all.
Once you do leave the festival grounds – because calling it a night at just 10.30pm in London feels like a cop out – make sure to stick around for some huge after parties. You can move on to venues like Fabric, XOYO, Ministry Of Sound and Egg London that have kept the party going in previous editions.
Also, don’t go turning up with a tent. This is not a camping music festival and you’ll just look silly if you do!
Friday’s headliner is the incredible Khalid, who released his second album Free Spirit in April 2019. The American singer briefly became the most-streamed artist on Spotify thanks to his smooth, self-examining R&B. No doubt many will be pleased to see the 21-year-old take centre stage this year. He’ll be supported on Friday by the likes of Hot Chip and Little Simz.
Joining Khalid in the lineup are Saturday’s headliners Disclosure. The English electronic duo are currently working on their third record with five years since their last effort Caracal. Alongside Disclosure on Saturday will be rapper Anderson .Paak, and the Korean DJ Peggy Gou.
Sunday may be the biggest day of the lot. Tyler, The Creator will headline on the back of his smash hit fifth album Igor. He’ll be joined by the genre-bending British singer FKA twigs and electropop star Charli XCX.
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.
|Friday 12th June||Saturday 13th June||Sunday 14th June|
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
|Tyler, the Creator|
Stay tuned for more information on the 2020 lineup and stage info!
How to get there
Okay, so you’ve planned what you’re wearing and what you’re bringing to Lovebox Festival – 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’ll have a bit of a walk, but nothing too bad.
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. However, 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 of these are just 10 minutes’ walk from the park. Acton Town operates on both the Piccadilly and District Line, while you can access South Ealing via the Piccadilly Line.
By Air: Whoever’s considering flying in for this festival, we salute you. Gunnersbury Park is close to Heathrow Airport which is about 22 minutes away by car, so that will be your best bet for flying in.
Make sure to check out Transport for London to plan your journey fully.
Where to stay
This isn’t a camping festival, so if you’re planning on doing all three days or are travelling long-distance, getting a place to stay will be important.
Lovebox’s official accommodation partner is hotels.com. You can book nights, earn discounts and more here.
If a hotel is too pricy for you, make sure to check out sites like Airbnb or Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is usually free but it works on the premise that if you stay with someone, you’ll be able and willing to open up 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. 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.
What to bring (and what’s not allowed)
Something to sit on/ in
Hopefully, the sun will be shining, you’ll be with your mates, and music will be drifting around you. It’s likely you’ll 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 muddy. If you don’t want to sacrifice a blanket or spend a whole day carrying it around, a bag for life is the right size and thickness to keep your bum dry on the ground. What’s more, it 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 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 often find them on sale nearby, 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. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have 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 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 Lovebox will have cash machines on site and shops may have portable card readers, but it may be a bit risky. All of those things can break, queues may be long, and you may even lose your card if you’re forgetful! As a result, it might be worth bringing a little more cash than you intend to spend just in case you find yourself in an emergency.
You may need ID to enter with your ticket. Lovebox accepts a variety of identification including a current passport, a 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 having your ID if you haven’t got your tickets? What good is any of this stuff without them?! Check, check and check again that they’re safe.
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.
It’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re outside at a festival like Lovebox. That’s why we recommend bringing an empty or reusable bottle with you, which you can fill up at their water taps easily.
You obviously can’t bring in a huge professional camera, but most phones now have a camera quality almost as good so you’re 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 Snapchats and going live when Khalid goes into ‘Better’?
Our 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.
We wouldn’t recommend any purse-style bags, and it shouldn’t be made of a rigid material because when people get squashed in the crowd, it’s not going to be comfortable. It’s important to make sure bags are no bigger than A4 in size, according to the latest safety info provided by Lovebox.
We 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 to avoid paler colours that will stain easily.
What’s not allowed
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 think it won’t be allowed in, chances are you’re right so best to just leave it. 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.
What to wear (fashions & outfits)
Now, something many Lovebox Festival goers take seriously is the look. Think London Street Fashion but even further. More glitter, gold and sheer fabric – prepare to make a statement.
You’re going to be jumping around 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.”
“What to avoid:1. Big jackets, you will have to carry it everywhere trying to be cool. Be sensible, carry your important items in a small bag that can securely strap on to you. 2. Drugs and alcohol! Know your limits and keep it classy. It’s less hassle going home in an Uber rather than an ambulance.”
What else is on at Lovebox Festival?
We know everyone’s in it for the music – how could you not be with the likes of Disclosure and FKA twigs taking you through the weekend? But Lovebox keeps on giving, with plenty of bonus activities to make the festival experience that much more memorable. Here’s what happened in previous years…
Lovebox Festival partnered up with several huge stage partners to bring the best experience possible. Partners included Noisey, Jackmaster, Corona SunSets, and Kopparberg Outsider. Meanwhile, Shy FX, Mike Skinner (The Streets) and arts collective Murkage hosted a massive under the radar party.
Festival goers lived out their rap fantasies with Hip-Hop Karaoke – seeing lots of Drakes, Rihannas and Beyonces 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 where people could divulge their raunchiest stories, with prizes awarded for the best of them.
The Sweet Spot also accommodated everyone’s musical needs with some of London’s finest MCs, spoken word artists and underground musicians alongside plenty of global DJs.
Foodwise, 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 loads of prizes!
Shoppers were also delighted with the Beauty Parlours and Vintage Markets selling plenty of amazing treats to take home.
Playlist to get in the mood
Well, now you’ve got your whole plan sorted, it’s time to kick back and let time pass until Lovebox Festival goes ahead in June.
You can use this playlist below inspired by Lovebox 2020 to make the time go a bit quicker. It features all of the headliners and biggest acts set to take over Gunnersbury Park.