RECAP: Cross The Tracks Festival 2019

Photography by Ellie Ramsden

Photography by Ellie Ramsden

South East London’s newest festival brings a breath of fresh air to Brixton.

Over the past couple of years, South East London has had its fair share of new festivals, from Field Day showcasing the likes of Nao and Loyle Carner at Brockwell Park in 2018, Naked City Festival bringing the likes of Moses Boyd and Neneh Cherry to Beckenham Place Park in March this year, and Nostalgia Fest hitting up Hayes Farm with old-school favourites So Solid Crew and Oxide & Neutrino.

With its huge lineup of some of the biggest names in soul, funk, jazz and reggae, Cross the Tracks was set to be a hit. With the likes of Chaka Khan, Masego, Jordan Rakei and OSHUN gracing the bill, and tickets starting at £25, it also provided a great alternative to the dominating hip-hop Central London festivals such as Lovebox and Wireless.

Kicking off the day, sounds from DJ Becca D graces the City Splash tent, with classic reggae tunes from Mr Vegas’ - I Am Blessed to the new track from Wiley, Stefflon Don, Sean Paul and Idris Elba - Boasty.

Then, first to bring his soulful vibes to main stage, Cross The Tracks Mainline is Aussie-Kiwi musician, singer-songwriter and producer, Jordan Rakei. With his spectacular band, he brings the summer vibes, from classic favourite Blame it On the Youth to his latest track Say Something.

The Ghost Notes Rail Yard, named after its now defunct bar & music venue in Peckham Levels, really bring the house down with their lineup, from Children of Zeus to Poppy Ajudha. North London singer-songwriter, Eliza comes with her sultry vibes, performing tracks from her new catalogue of tracks from her new album A Real Romantic. Songs Wide Eyed Fool and Alone and Unafraid go down a treat, but the highlight of her set is funk-filled bassy track, Wasn’t Looking.

Photography by Ellie Ramsden

Photography by Ellie Ramsden

In between artists, festival goers head to Cross The Tracks Junction to catch the likes of Norman Jay and Jazzie B playing old-school favourites. Norman Jay launches into jungle, bringing the party vibes, whilst Jazzie B brings out the 80’s club classics from Fatback Band to Evelyn “Champagne” King.

Etta Bond, as usual, doesn’t disappoint, with her paired-down set at Freight Place - Let Me Hit It and Surface prove crowd favourites.

Before long, it’s time to head to Masego’s set back at the Cross The Tracks Mainline stage. Playing popular songs from his Loose Thoughts EP, he really brings his TrapHouseJazz sounds, from Wifeable to YOU GON’ LEARN SOME JAZZ TODAY, but the crowd goes wild for his rendition of Snoop Dogg’s Sensual Seduction and Fergie’s Glamorous.

Photography by Ellie Ramsden

Photography by Ellie Ramsden

We catch a moment of Oscar Jerome at Freight Place (keep an eye out, he’s one to watch), before heading back to the main stage for the queen herself, Chaka Khan. Forty years into her career, her vocals are still unmatched as is her energy. Through the Wire invites a chorus, I Feel For You brings the party, I’m Every Woman invokes the diva in every woman in attendance, and as the sun sets on Brockwell Park, Chaka finishes off with Ain’t Nobody.

Though it might be its first time on South East soil, we expect we’ll be seeing much more from Cross The Tracks in the future.

Words by: Mireille Cassandra Harper

Photos by: Ellie Ramsden

Our Cross the Tracks playlist. If you want more soulful, jazzy + funky vibes, we recommend this 15-song tracklist as the soundtrack to your summer:

Josh EldrawComment