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REVIEW: City Splash festival

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

Last month Sound Mag reached a celebration of Roots and Culture music at Beckenham Place Park, London, the most iconic reggae music festival since lockdown the UK has seen. City Splash.

With a capacity of up to 8,000, the crowds drew in early and stayed well into the evening, with artists connecting backstage, whilst people of all ages, creeds and culture mixed in the arenas.

Unique to City Splash was the reflection of the full circle of influence reggae music has today. Celebrating and shining on the contributions Ska, Rocksteady, Lover’s Rock and Roots Reggae has made to modern Dancehall, Jungle, Hip Hop and much more.

All-time artists such as chart-hitting Shola Ama and king of the remix Seani B, took centre on the Rampage Carnival stage, with rising Junglist Nia Archives and hosts Shumba Youth and Clapper Priest for the Rompas Reggae Shack crew, on the Woodland stage, to name a few.

UK artists and sound system operators such as Jah Youth, Iration Steppas and Eva Lazarus featured on the Channel One Presents stage. A live dub show by the mighty Mad Professor of Ariwa Sounds, was accompanied by Sister Audrey, who brought you the original of ‘English girl’ this time, in a vocal duo style with Lorna Gee.

An outstanding feature of City Splash festival was the inclusive line-up, with artist’s such as Rocksteady star Dawn Penn, empress of Roots Soul Teshay Makeda, and young, accomplished singer and producer Kiko Bun.

The Twinkle Brothers performed a timeless, yet exuberant show, supported by none other than Jerry Lionz on lead guitar, Dub Judah on bass and Black Steel on rhythm guitar.

Sound Mag's highlight was Lila Ike, hailing from Manchester, Jamaica who flew in hotter than fire, performing intimate, exclusive versions of‘ Solitude’ and ‘Where I’m coming from’, revealing notes of her debut album forthcoming next year. Her band, Gyasi Crosdale on guitar, Michael Fletcher on bass, with Cyrus from the Rasites band on keys, musicians who angled a captivating entree to Lila Ike’s first of many solo show’s in the UK.

A junction for all paths of reggae culture, City Splash created for us a long overdue achievement bringing together Jamaica, the sound system circuit, and the reggae inspired sounds of UK’s underground for one day. If you were not fortunate enough to be there this year, then we hope to see you next year.

Photography by Ben Bell

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