Arlun Grant

Sunday 20 August 2023 marked the third iteration of Cloud X, a festival brought to you by an independent London-based record label of the same name. Last year the festival was held at Studio 338 and was a fraction of the size, but now it has evolved into a full-fledged festival residing in the gorgeous Beckenham Place Park.

The festival site was pretty intimate in comparison to other festivals that have happened at the site, but still contained a solid five stages – Cloud X World MOBO Unsung, Notion, Selectors Paradise and JubelApres Arena – with a variety of live music and stages of back-to-back DJs.

Photo: Diya

We first took in the soulful, jazzy and sometimes Amy Winehouse-esque sounds of Elli Ingram, who has become a bit of a staple choice for us this summer, before moving across to the Notion stage to watch Kwaku Asante in action. Asante did not disappoint with his velvet tones blessing our ears, some would even say he sounds as “sweet as Molasses” - anything to mention my favourite song of his!

As mentioned, the festival site was pretty intimate and required very little walking compared to some mammoth sized festivals, which we enjoyed as it meant we were never far from our next musical adventure. Additionally, the set times ran pretty smoothly meaning that we never felt like we were missing out on anything or rushing to catch partial sets as has been the case with many other festivals for us.

Photo: Diya

Our next musical highlight had to be fellow South-East Londoner, Samm Henshaw who put on a rousing performance before heading over to the Selectors Paradise to see Juls captivate the crowd with a real summer vibe with some absolute bangers ranging across Grime, Hip Hop and Amapiano that probably brought the biggest buzz of the day. Pip Millett was our next stop as we enjoyed her smooth and sometimes stripped back sound before the headline Saint Levant captivated the crowd with a powerful yet somewhat subdued performance.

Photo: Diya

All in all, a great first year for this fledgling festival. I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for next year’s line-up as I only expect bigger and better things for this ambitious event.