Written by Sam Kohn
After a long, miserably wet winter, Sunday ushered in the start of the British Summertime as Cross The Tracks returned to Brockwell Park for its annual celebration of soul, jazz and funk. The one-day festival – founded in 2019 – has quickly established itself as one of the most popular music events in the city, drawing in a sold-out crowd for 2023 with its big-name line-up, craft beer market and host of independent food and art stalls.
Artists played across seven unique stages, packing out every corner of Brockwell Park with sounds from around the world. Early in the day, Nottingham-based Yazmin Lacey brought her trademark mix of jazz, soul and electronica to the Mainline stage, playing songs from her critically-acclaimed album ‘Voice Notes’. Elsewhere, East-London’s Hak Baker took to the Terminal stage with his self-styled ‘G-folk’ – grime plus folk – delivering a lively set that ended with his shirt flying into the crowd. Just one stage over, Chicago-based singer Ravyn Lenae cast a spell over London with her breathy falsetto and heady mix of R&B and neo-soul. As the sun beat down, her closing song “Sticky” seemed to wink at the sky and thank the clouds for opening up.
Late in the day it was time to bring out the big guns. London-based quintet Ezra Collective amassed one of the largest crowds of the day with their genre-bending set of jazz, Afrobeat and hip-hop, while Channel One drew the reggae heads to Funk Junction in search of their world-famous sound system and sought-after dub plates. Some fans were lucky to catch roses straight from Jamaican-born Masego’s hands, while others were faced with the difficult decision between Kelis and NxWorries (Anderson Paak & Knxwledge) – probably the biggest set clash of the day but also a testament to the huge array of great music on offer. Our pick? Let’s just say a certain someone’s milkshake brought all the boys and girls to the yard.
With a line-up like this, it’s no surprise that Cross The Tracks proved once again to be an unmissable event in this year’s UK festival roster. And with over 40 food traders, 10+ breweries and a wide selection of stalls, talks and workshops, there truly was something for everyone. At Haste, we don’t like to play favourites, but let’s just say we’re already counting down the days ‘til next year’s installment.