City Splash review: downpours can't spoil Caribbean celebration

We sent Erin Cobby to check out a slightly damp City Splash festival.

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 29th May 2024

While it was mentioned by a few of the acts at this year's City Splash festival, it was said best by Mad Professor: “The English can sometimes get festivals really right, and sometimes…. they can’t." The British dub music producer, engineer and remixer, who was also joined on stage by his son Joe Awira, was referring to the miserable weather which was turning the Channel One dance floor, open to the elements and looking like a greenhouse, into a treacherous bog.

However, while it definitely didn’t feel like the festival hit its 300,000 cap, there were still plenty of punters who braved the rain, some barefoot armed only with a bin bag, to explore this event which bills itself as ‘the home of culture’.  This was the weekend of the day festival in London. While GALA Fest occupied Peckham for the majority of the bank holiday weekend, Brockwell Park in Herne Hill played host to multiple day festivals including Cross the Tracks and City Splash. 

While the former caters to London’s jazz, funk and soul fans, City Splash celebrates the impact of Caribbean culture on the UK, showcasing genres including roots, dub, dancehall and jungle. 

One of the personal highlights of this year was getting to witness the incredible energy of Jeneile Osborne, better known as Queen Omega, a reggae singer born in Trinidad. Dressed in a signature colourful outfit, she topped the whole look off with impressively high white heeled boots, which didn’t in any way impede her ability to stomp around owning the smaller ‘Pull Up’ stage. 

Another stand-out act on this stage was Jamaican DJ Anthony B who managed to seriously impress fans by pulling off his classics like ‘Run for Cover’, ‘Warriors’ and ‘Freedom Fighters’ all while doing the running man in a tight white outfit. 

One of the biggest names which drew a sea of umbrellas was Busy Signal. A massive figure in the dancehall scene since 2005 with his release of ‘Step Out’, he delighted the crowd by playing all fan favourites including, ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Bedroom Bully’ and, of course, ‘One More Night’. With members of the crowd dancing so exuberantly that bins were transformed into makeshift stages, it was clear nothing was going to wash out these fans. 

To round out the offering and programme some newer names, WSTRN, a British collective, played to a packed-out, and potentially correspondingly covered stage. While they played some of their own hits, including ‘Ben Ova’ and 'Come Down’, the crowd seemed to really respond to covers of dancehall anthems from Vibes Kartel like ‘Ramping Shop’. 

A moment of classic British fan interaction occurred when Shenseea, best known for her feature on Kanye West’s ‘Pure Souls’ alongside Roddy Ricch, invited someone from the crowd to get up on stage. The woman, who promptly began her own free style, was met harshly with choruses of boos from the crowd.

The day’s offerings were topped off by an energetic performance from Capleton, or ‘King of Fire’ as he’s more colloquially known. Gracing the UK with his first performance in over thirteen years, the reggae and dancehall musician came out to screaming crowds - his head-to-toe shiny bronze outfit seemingly dispelling the last of the grey skies. Community-centric messages of personal power and self-belief (which were repeated across the festival throughout the day) were interspersed with classics like ‘Raggy Road’ and ‘Jah Jah City’, with many fans taking to social media to name Capleton as their festival highlight. 

As fans exited the park, which will undoubtedly evidence of the festival’s presence long after earworms have faded, it’s safe to say the mood was elated - albeit still a bit soggy. 



For more festivals from across the UK, check out our Festivals 2024 Inspire Me page. 



Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.








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