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The East End’s answer to Glastonbury attracted thousands of revellers to Victoria Park for the ever popular Lovebox Weekender. Photos and report by Louise Hale.

Duran’s still got it! THE Lovebox Weekender did not disappoint last weekend with smouldering, smashing,star quality performances from the likes of Duran Duran and superstars N*E*R*D.

dance performances by working with professional dance mentors from project Biggafish. Their show Bigga Bloco saw Samba School drumming married with digital music and rapping to produce a sound East London’s answer to Glastonbury quite unique to celebrate creativity over drew around 70,000 punters over Satur- adversity in the borough. Nick Green, arts and events officer for day, July 18 and the following day to Tower Hamlets Council,said:“It’s very imVictoria Park. People revelled in amazement as eight- portant for us to keep the event connected to local talent and as a ies pop sensation Duran Duran took cenplatform for east London tre stage on the first night, while the performers.” festival’s permanent fixtures Groove He added that for as Armada confirmed that no act could long as it’s at Victoria Park quite steal their thunder, when it will always incorporate closing the event with a mystifylocal people. ing and explosive set on Sunday. The Lakeview estate,loN*E*R*D frontman Pharrell cated directly opposite the Williams dazzled screaming entrance to fanswhen he invited more than the 50 girls from the crowd to join him on stage. Poplar resident Eileen Martin, 18, was one of them. “I can’t believe I was picked. It was amazing to experience what being on stage in front of so many people is like. Plus Pharrell is so cute, too,” she told East End Life. International acts aside, LoveBox still largely incorporates a local theme. Tower Hamlets creative students produced

park,was protected by security at the end of the show in order to prevent vandalism and tippers, a problem voiced following the event last year. The council has also worked hard over the last year to reduce the impact of noise on residents.It has taken expert advice on setting noise levels for events this summer and officers from the council’s environmental protection team were on hand over the Lovebox weekend to ensure noise levels were kept within agreed limits. The festival, now in its fourth year at the park, is fast becoming a must-do on Londoners’ calendars. It was recently voted the best medium-size festival in the UK, with Victoria Park now hailed as the second largest park venue after Hyde Park. Nick Green believes Lovebox’s success is down to the star-studded line-up, as well as the fact that local people are involved and attend,and the council’s ability to manage such a massive event is getting better. “Each year we made changes for the better and have got better at managing it.Residents accept it as a summer feature now and are pleased the money we make from it is poured back into community projects and free festivals,” he said. Ska band Madness took their Madstock festival on Friday to Victoria Park as part of their 30th anniversary celebrations. They were joined by The Pogues, The Aggrolites and Abba tribute band Bjorn Again among many of the groups playing on the different stages. Organisers said around 25,000 people turned up despite the wet weather.

Police praise revellers POLICE said reported crime figures over the three days of Madstock and Lovebox were low, with a small number of arrests.

N*E*R*D frontman Pharrell Williams, who invited more than 50 female fans from the crowd to join him on stage 24

Superintendent Colin Morgan said more than 60,000 people attended over the three days and people were generally good natured in and around the park. “The vast majority of these people enjoyed the weekend and returned home safely,” he said. He said the Met Police ran a successful anti-drugs operation in conjunction with British Transport Police. “All officers employed worked professionally to deliver this safe event in partnership with organisers and council officials,”he said. Sup Morgan said around 14,000 people attended Madstock and there were seven arrests for minor public order offences and drugs possession. No incidents took place except for some pickpocketing in the main arena. The first day of Lovebox attracted around 28,000 people and about 80 arrests were made for possession of drugs, 12 for possession with intent to supply. And 80 people were given cannabis warnings. On Sunday there was a crowd of around 13,500 people and there were 82 arrests for drugs with 111 cannabis warnings.

(Above) 1980s sensations Duran Duran comeback in style. (Left, above) A singer with Groove Armada. (Left, below) New Zealand’s Lady Hawke

(Above and right) Music fans enjoyed the great atmosphere at Lovebox


27 JULY – 2 AUGUST 2009

27 JULY – 2 AUGUST 2009



LoveBoxWeekender 2009  

Louise Hale write and reports from LoveBoxWeekender 2009- the east ends answer to Glastonbury, 15 minutes by tube.

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