Some of the top names in Hip Hop from both England and the US will be playing at Lovebox this weekend. Chance the Rapper won three Grammy Awards with his 2016 album Coloring Book, including the award for Best Rap Album. Solange, who like her sister Beyonce is well enough known just to go by her first name, also has a Grammy in her trophy cabinet, for the lead single from her third studio album A Seat at the Table (2016). She has released her fourth studio album, When I Get Home, this year. Other big American names include Cypress Hill, Californian hip-hop ‘legends’. Their ninth album last year Elephants on Acid was described by the NME as ‘one for the hardcore fans only – a relentless odyssey into the weird’, but this weekend they will be giving festival goers a performance of their groundbreaking 1993 album Black Sunday, in its entirety.
Among the home grown talent is Momodou Lamin Jallow better known professionally as J Hus, an English rapper and singer from Stratford, east London, who is as well known for being jailed as he is for his music. He has served time in Feltham prison for carrying a knife and violent disorder. He himself was stabbed 5 times in 2015. Last year he was again arrested for carrying a knife and sentenced to eight months for carrying a six inch blade. In April he received a huge welcome from fans when he went straight to perform at a concert with Blake at the O2 on release from prison. His debut album, Common Sense reached number six in the UK Albums Chart in 2017 and he has featured on Stormzy’s album Bad Boys.
Loyle Carner, from Croydon, is an English hip hop musician and actor whose music is described by NME as “sensitive and eloquent”. He has performed on ’The Other Stage’ at Glastonbury festival, making his second appearance after playing the ‘John Peel’ stage the year before. slowthai (with a lower case ‘s’ – don’t ask) from Northampton features in the BBC’s Sound of 2019 poll and NME’s NME 100 list. DJ Tiffany Calver had the distinction of being the first woman to host a hip-hop show on a national radio station, at Kiss FM. She now presents the BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra Saturday night Rap Show.
Guy Gerber is an Israeli electronic DJ/producer and musician who works in the underground techno scene. His projects range from collaborating with hip hop figure Puff Daddy, to starting a left-field night at the Ibiza club, the Pacha. As a performer, Gerber has been consistently rated one of the best acts in dance music. Solomun is a Bosnian-German DJ and music producer. He is a three-time DJ Awards winner for Best Producer and Best Deep House DJ.
Road closures, Tube station access and bus diversions
Time Out describes Lovebox as ‘Consistently one of the finest festivals in London’, with Citadel ‘the calmer post-Lovebox antidote, Citadel has more of a chilled vibe’. Many local residents will be going to enjoys the festivals. Organisers Mamaco have given away 800 pairs of tickets in a local ballot. Others, who don’t know their Afrobeats from their Grime (and care even less) will be looking to avoid the crowds. Around 100,000 people are expecting to be coming to the Lovebox and Citadel festivals over the three days Friday 12 – Sunday 14 July. Here’s what you need to know.
Lovebox – Friday 12 July, 2.00pm – 10.30pm & Saturday 13 July, 12.00pm – 10.30pm
Citadel – Sunday 14 July, 12:00pm – 10.00pm
There is no parking available for the festival, except for Blue Badge holders (who have to apply for spaces in advance). To prevent festival goers trying to park near the event, Popes Lane and its continuation into Gunnersbury Lane will be closed off from the junction with South Ealing Rd to the west, to Acton Town station in the east, on all three evenings, from 7.00pm – 1.00am. Residential roads leading off the main road will be closed from 10.00am Friday and 9.00am Saturday and Sunday until midnight, (or until the crowd has dispersed). Two parking permits per household have already been sent out and extra passes for those households requiring more than two, are being sent out this week, say the organisers.
E3 & N11 buses
When Popes Lane and Gunnersbury Lane are closed, buses will be diverted in a long loop around South Ealing Rd, Chiswick High Rd and Bollo Lane.
Tube stations – check before you use the Underground
The main tube station for the event will be Acton Town, with Ealing Broadway as the second designated station. This means police and stewards will move the crowd in the direction of these two stations as they leave the park. Local residents are advised to check the TfL website or Twitter feed to check whether other stations in the area will be accessible on those nights. South Ealing, Gunnersbury, Ealing Common and Kew Bridge stations will all be in use as normal, except that if they become too crowded TfL may decide to make them exit-only in the evenings.
Avoiding the problems of last year
Last year (the first at Gunnersbury Park) residents were unimpressed by the amount of litter and people urinating in their streets and the difficulty of getting access to their homes by road. This year the organisers Mamaco have doubled the number of stewards’ shifts and given people a community liason person to ring in case of problems – Jackie Sear 07957 187494. They have also provided more portable loos, both inside the park, outside the exit in Pope’s Lane, by the shops on Ealing Broadway and outside Acton Town station.
At the end of the Citadel festival last year many festival-goers were stranded on the Sunday night as TfL closed Acton Town tube station before the last train left for safety reasons, as there were more people waiting outside than were able to get on the train. This year Citadel is finishing half an hour earlier at 10.00pm and stewards will be directing people to Ealing Broadway station as well as Acton Town to overcome that problem. On Friday and Saturday the District line runs a 24 hour service, so the problem doesn’t arise.
Local residents also complained about the noise last year. The volume level was set by Hounslow and Ealing Borough councils, it was monitored and the agreed level wasn’t breached, This year Mamaco has directed the sound of stage four more towards the M4 and away from Pope’s Lane, away from residential housing.