Cross The Tracks review: the undercard names step up

We sent Jordan Foster to Cross The Tracks festival to check out its selection of jazz, funk, soul and more.

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 29th May 2024

Since forming in 2019, Cross The Tracks has quickly become a #1 UK beacon for classic jazz, funk, soul and experimental sounds. The festival is a shining jewel in a crown of festivals on South London’s Brockwell Park, which continues to grow in stature year-on-year. 

The highly anticipated event is now regularly a sell-out and for the organisers, signing Erykah Badu (aka the Godmother of soul) for this year’s edition was no doubt a cherry on the cake for punters. But on the day of the event, disaster struck. A CTT Instagram post announced the cancellation of Badu on the day of the event, which came as devastating news to thousands of fans who will have seen the Dallas-born pioneer as the centrepiece of their day. 

“We are utterly devastated to inform you that Erykah Badu will no longer be playing Cross The Tracks 2024”, the post read. “her touring party has already arrived in London and have been sound checking all morning but unfortunately due to illness, Erykah will be unable to make it.”

“The day isn’t just about one act, it’s about 70 incredible acts, shaping and defining the genres we love globally” the post continued. And it didn’t lie. Freddie Gibbs and Madlib were drafted in for a live appearance in addition to Madlib’s previously scheduled DJ set and beloved US girl group En Vogue stepped up from their sub-headline position to top the night’s bill. It could be no consolation for many aggrieved Badu fans, but the trio’s all-singing-all-dancing show more than stood up and demonstrated why they have set the standard for R&B vocalists over the decades. An explosive rendition of 'Lady Marmalade' was particularly successful in demonstrating their vocal chops.

Armed with no shortage of mammoth R&B bangers, the leather body suit uniformed Eve brought stardust to the main stage. A set in which had one of the biggest crowds of the day. ‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’ has just shy of half a billion streams on Spotify now – the unmistakable opening guitar notes triggered a rapturous reception. ‘Who’s That Girl’ was another to send the diverse crowd into frenzy mode.

But it was the smaller names across the mirage of stages that raised eyebrows highest during the day. Brooklyn-born Iniko made a solid claim for the biggest-stage-presence-of-the-day award, with a band who were equally as charged with high energy. The band encapsulate a unique blend of various genres including rock, soul, dancehall and trap – amounting to a progressive fusion which isn’t too much like anything else. A scintillating cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘Boogie Wonderland’ sprinkled a dash of familiarity into the set.

The Ife Ogunjobi set that followed was a sensory overload in the best possible way. Boasting elongated drum and horn solos and bookended by soulful MCing – it all felt expressive whilst remaining glued together with watertight basslines.

While headlining the 2nd biggest stage, Romare (aka Archie Fairhurts) was the festival’s most housey moment. The London-born knob-twiddler soared across a soundscape of rhythmic ambience with a set that was drenched in kaleidoscopic visuals. His eclectic grooves make nods to a host of worldly influences, from Caribou to a smorgasbord of African-American sounds, in what amounted to a palette cleanser to the rest of the day’s billing.

The loss of Badu will have left a bitter taste in many fans’ mouths – many punters demanded refunds on socials. But if there’s anything Cross The Tracks proves, it’s that festivals can be as much about their undercards as they are about their headliners.



For more festivals across the UK that you can attend this summer, 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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