Preview: Lovebox, Victoria Park, July 18 and 19

Dj Monki

Dj Monki - Credit: Archant

This weekend will once again see Victoria Park turn into a fully-blown festival for 48 hours as Lovebox comes back to town for the tenth time.

Weather permitting, happy-go-lucky ravers will dance in the sunshine to superstars Chase and Status, M.I.A and hip-hop legend Nas among a smorgasbord of others.

But for one performer, the festival represents a kind of triumphant homecoming. Rising star DJ Monki began her musical journey just round the corner at Point Blank studios in Hoxton.

This training, along with her ­internship at influential former pirate radio station Rinse FM in Brick Lane, led to her being booked for the festival back in 2010, at the tender age of 18, where she DJ’d in a van.

Since then her sets of box-fresh, bass-heavy hits have seen her ­secure a regular slot on Radio 1 (where she has survived the budget cuts), set up her own record ­label and play at clubs and festivals across Europe.

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This year, rather than spinning in a burger shack, she’ll be sharing the turntables with the likes of Good Times pioneer Norman Jay and Coronation Street jock Craig Charles.

Party vibe

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“It’s great to be playing London again,” the 21-year-old said. “It’s always such an open-minded crowd. I can play whatever I want

“In Europe, of some other cities you tailor what you play to suit where you are.

“But in London, at a festival especially, it will be a real party vibe.”

The south London native will be playing a speaker-punishing blend of techno, garage, house and even hip-hop during her Saturday set.

She said: “It won’t be very genre-specific. This is the fourth year I’ve played Lovebox and it’s definitely been getting bigger.

“But the main change for me has been the stages I have played. The first year I was in a van, then I moved to the Rinse FM stage, then the Annie Mac stage.

“This year I’ll be playing on the same stage as Norman Jay, which will be really cool. I’ve never played with him before.”

A far cry from the days when she was studying radio production in Penn Street.

“I used to do two days a week there,” she said. “Then I was working at a shop for three days a week and doing work experience at Rinse in Brick Lane, back when it was a pirate.

“So it’s really special to be back in east London, because that’s where it all started for me.”

With her future at Radio 1 ­secure, despite a cull in specialist (non-mainstream) Dj’s, plus a new EP and tour on the way, the next 12 months looks like they’ll involve plenty for this Monki to see, and do.

Jon Dean

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