Lovebox, Victoria Park, London – July 17th 2011
This year’s Sunday at the East End’s Lovebox Festival was dubbed ‘Out & Out Fierce’ and sported a line-up so gay it practically shimmered, including the likes of Marc Almond, Boy George, Beth Ditto, Scissor Sisters and Robyn. Essential supplies of brolly and rain mac got, we pitched up at a mud-sloshed Victoria Park for the festivities, ready to be out and out fierce…
First things first, let’s talk about the weather – we had four seasons in one day. Marc Almond sang through a flash thunder storm, but the clouds parted and the sun shone for the powerhouse that is Beth Ditto, who seemed to have forgotten to bring any of her own songs but nevertheless held the massed crowd rapt with her charisma, a cover of Madonna’s Vogue and a near-naked jig in her bra and pants. “It’s our day – it’s gay day! What is it?” she yelled as the crowd hollered back. In contrast, Blondie did not have the gay card to play so instead they had to play some tunes – how terribly conventional. However, Debbie Harry was determined to see the gay theme through, so turned up in a headress (Village People anyone)? They slammed through a slalom of hits as the heavens opened, closed, opened, closed and the crowd valiantly glugged down vats of Gaymers cider – yes, even the booze was gay.
As dusk sashayed into view, the big wheel turned and Kelis took to the Gaymers Stage to huge applause. We, though, stuck solid with the main stage, next adorned by New York’s biggest gays, the Scissor Sisters. “We didn’t know what to wear today,” confided Anna Mantronix. “But when we saw thunder and lightning we figured we should play it safe and stick to rubber.” The Scissors are seasoned performers and tonight’s show was razor-sharp as they fizzed through their hits, got Ditto back on-stage for the fabulous Tits On The Radio and got the crowd whooping with a dash of pyrotechnics.
After that, we grabbed a cardboard tray of pie and peas, more cider and trudged through the mud for Swedish pop pixie Robyn at the Gaymers stage, who served up a blistering set through wind and rain. 2ManyDJs finished the night on the main stage, mixing hit after hit in smart suits, sound and light working their magic as the crowd went mad for it.
I’ll admit it – when I woke up on Sunday I really didn’t fancy Lovebox, with storms forecast. However, this festival is consistently brilliant every year and so it proved again. Gay or not, Sunday turned out super-fierce.