City Splash in London: tropical one-dayer toasts Afro-Caribbean music’s many threads

Brockwell Park, May 29: Chronixx, Ayra Starr and more headed to Brockwell Park for the Bank Holiday bash

Despite the news that dancehall star Shenseea is unable to perform, the show must go on. This year’s City Splash ends a blockbuster weekend in London’s Brockwell Park, full of alternative music definers and soulful headliners – and today shows off the Afro-Caribbean heritage that built Brixton.

Before the main attractions, you can boogie down to an eclectic array of sounds. With friends of NME providing feel-good soundtracks on the BossyLDN stage, you are spoilt for choice. If you want some modern-day dancehall, you go find club mainstay ELLADHC. If you’re a true junglist, go see Nia Archives go back-to-back with IZCO. It’s selector galore.

A few pull in massive crowds: Ayra Starr serves a helping of relaxing afro-R&B as many lie down and catch some rays; Gyakie and her live band invigorate your soul with her well-rounded set, and the latest face of amapiano, Uncle Waffles, is enthralled by her own mixes (again). Dancers on stage create quite the spectacle, showing off another special element of the culture.

The headliners, though, bring the most fun. Koffee is accompanied by a live band, adding a bluesy swagger to her lilting reggae. Whilst the Grammy-winner takes the stage, the dancers amp up the crowd to dance along, and side of stage ou’re able to see some star-studded talent including Stormzy bopping along to her pop-reggae.


Meanwhile, the internet sensation Skillibeng comes out to the dancefloor-invading Mura Masa collaboration ‘Bless Me’. The trap-bashment pioneer blitzes through the hits (‘Crocodile Teeth’, ‘Whap Whap’) in the first half of his 45-minute set, that, by the end, only true fans stuck around.

The energy switches for Chronixx’s first set in London six years. The screens surrounding the latter burn a deep amber and his bassist strums a heart-hugging bassline; forget that chilling spring breeze and be transported to the islands for a moment. Toasting in between his highly-acclaimed hits like the anthemic ‘Likes’ and ‘Smile Jamaica’, the set brings true reggae revivalists and music aficionados together.

As Rastafarian flags sway, festival-goers are replenished after battling uphill to see their favourites. With such a varied line-up, City Splash gives people the chance to choose their own fun, making it a sweet day out with the family or a great excuse to get drunk in the sun.


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