Arlun Grant

A Bank Holiday weekend full of sunshine…not much can rival it, and when you throw in a festival it is just *chef’s kiss*.

Cross The Tracks was my second festival of the weekend (both at the same site) and boy, was I excited?! Returning for its fourth iteration at Brockwell Park, Cross The Tracks was awash with talent –Yazmin Lacey, Ezra Collective, Alfa Mist, Carrtoons, Masego, Kelis, NxWorriesand many more adorned one of the most impressive line-ups I had seen for a festival in a long time.

Photo: @stillsummer

The park was much busier than two days prior at Project 6, leading to fears of entry queue chaos, but those fears dissipated immediately as the process was super smooth and quick – a testament to the organised crew behind the festival.

As mentioned, the line-up was jam packed with a fair few of my favourite artists, both established and up and coming, so it was a tricky task navigating the agenda! One of our first stops was Yazmin Lacey on the Mainline stage before we moved onto Locomotion to see Emmavie, both of whom put onfantastic performances of smooth soulful music.

Next up were early twenties prodigies DOMi& JD Beck, who have been making waves with their infectious brand of jazzy hip hop and collabs with artists like Thundercat and Anderson .Paak, before we rushed over to see the Silhouettes Project, a community of up and coming Hip-Hop, Soul and Jazz artists from the UK, for a fun ensemble show.

Photo: @garryjonesphotography

After a frenetic start, we decided to explore a bit more of the festival site which featured some comprehensive entertainment options including panels, workshops, craft stands and delicious food from over 40 of London’s finest street vendors. That’s before mentioning the seven main stages, the daunting sky swing ride, VIP stage and roller disco…wow!

The VIP area was one of the best I’ve been to at a festival, with its own stage, food vendors and a nice amount of space. I would recommend purchasing a VIP ticket, if possible. I also have to give a shout-out to the festival for some of the accessibility provided – lowered counters at all of the main bars, accessible viewing platforms and BSL interpreters on the main stage being beamed on the big screens.

The evening session started for us with jazzy British quintet Ezra Collective, before hitting up Children of Zeus and then one of my current favourites, Carrtoons, who displayed his versatility from more mellow groves like “Ben on the Run” and “Taurus” to some upbeat feel-good jams like “Groceries”.

Photo: @leondoggydog

Once Carrtoons finished up, we sprinted over to the Mainline stage to catch the end of Masego’s energetic set, which did not disappoint, before moving over to Kelis – an artist I’ve loved since I was young!

It wasn’t just me who was nostalgic for Kelis, as she held the crowd in the palm of her hand while she belted out bangers like “Millionaire”, “Get Along With You” and “Milkshake”, it was everything I had imagined and more.

Last up were the headliners NxWorries(Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge),taking part in their first tour together ahead of the highly anticipated release of their second album. I could go on for hours about this set, the visuals were vibrant and creative, the vibes were electric and as ever .Paak was an incredible showman – he also even managed to outdo my extravagant fur headwear (I want one!).You know you’re on to a winner when you leave a festival singing the headline acts songs as you walk out.

Photo: @garryjonesphotography

The only real sad moment of the day was finding out that the legendary Roy Ayers was forced to cancel, having contracted COVID (get well soon Roy), however, that was weirdly a positive for me as it made my selection headache between Carrtoons, Roy and Masego a lot easier!

Back to the positives, I really liked the implementation of the Moov app, which provided you with information such as set times, stage information and maps days before the festival – something I feel that all festivals should endeavour to offer.

Overall, Cross The Tracks has to be labelled a fantastic success, the vibes were on point and the line-up was definitely in my top 5 festival line-ups ever – and that’s no mean feat. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in 2024, maybe a full weekend? Or a camping festival? I certainly wouldn’t be opposed!!