Your summer guide to the best South London festivals

After a long, dark winter in lockdown, festivals are returning to South London in full swing. ALEXANDRA WARREN picks out some of the best.

Brixton’s soul, jazz and funk festival Cross the Tracks is returning to Brockwell Park this summer for the second time.

Acts taking the stage on September 5 include Nu jazz collective The Cinematic Orchestra, R&B superstars En Vogue, everyone’s favourite disco family Sister Sledge featuring Kathy Sledge.

Elsewhere on the line-up, some of the UK’s most exciting young talents will be performing, including drummer Yussef Dayes and saxophonist, composer and frontwoman Nubya Garcia, whose Tiny Desk performance has been viewed online more than a million times.

Acts from a previous Cross the Tracks in June 2019 Pictures: Luke Dyson

Psychedelic soul artist Greentea Peng, who was longlisted for the BBC Sound of 2021, will also be performing.

Other acts across the day include the father of British neo-soul, Omar, broadcaster, DJ and influential record label owner, Gilles Peterson, jazz virtuoso Reuben James, legendary ‘Good Times’ DJ Norman Jay and world-famous dub reggae sound system, Channel One, The London Africa Gospel Choir will also perform Graceland in full.

On top of the music, the festival will have 40 street-food traders, panel talks, workshops, a vintage fair, a wellness tent, an independent creative market.

Tickets start at £39.50 plus booking and are on sale at

Gala Festival returns to Peckham Rye Park on July 31 and August 1, instead of its usual May Bank Holiday date.

To celebrate its fifth year anniversary, which should have been in 2020, the beloved independent festival will become a weekender for the very first time.

The festival will feature some of the most exciting names in house, disco, dub and jazz, as well as celebrated chefs, restaurants, breweries, record labels and party brands from South London.

Above and below, acts and a scene from a previous Gala Festival Pictures: Justine Ricketts

On the main stage are sets from modern house music heroes Motor City Drum Ensemble and Move D, the ultimate feel-good DJ, Nightmares On Wax, a long-time pillar of house in Marcellus Pittmann, as well as more recent breakthroughs Anu and CC:DISCO!

Other stages will have performances from Gala regulars Horse Meat Disco and Job Jobse’s Strangelove, and showcase dance from Sue Veneers Club.

South Facing Festival is a new open air concert series taking over Crystal Palace Park this summer, featuring 12 headline music performances and a host of free midweek events for the whole community.

The series will run from August 5 to 31 in the park’s open-air concert stage, the Crystal Palace Bowl.

In the first wave acts is Dizzee Rascal & The Outlook Orchestra, the English National Opera (ENO), Max Richter, Supergrass and The Streets.

South Facing aims to breathe new life into the Crystal Palace Bowl, an outdoor amphitheatre soaked with a rich musical history which hasn’t been used in a decade.

In its 60-year history, the venue has hosted some of the world’s most acclaimed artists including Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Elton John, The Cure, Lou Reed, and Vera Lynn.

Early Bird tickets start at £35 plus booking fee and are on sale now from

Hospitality Weekend in the Woods. A drum’n’bass festival is taking place at Beckenham Place Park on September 18-19.

Hospitality Weekend in the Woods debut festival is boasting eight stages of drum’n’bass royalty, including Netsky, A.M.C, Calibre and DRS, Camo & Krooked and Noisia. Kings of the Rollers + Inja, My Nu Leng, Nu:Tone, Hype, Sherelle and DJ Storm are also set to perform.

The festival will also be celebrating Hospital Records’ 25th anniversary.

Born in 1996, the pioneering independent record label from South London is the leading drum’n’bass imprint around the world, representing some of the biggest artists in the scene to nurturing some of the most exciting upcoming artists around.

Main Pic from Cross The Tracks by Luke Dyson


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