Africa Oyé Festival returns to Sefton Park, Liverpool on 22nd & 23rd June 2024

Posted on 7 June 2024
By Khyle Medany
  • Share:

The UK’s biggest celebration of African and Caribbean music and culture will take place at Sefton Park in Liverpool this June with a stellar line-up of live music, DJs, workshops and more.

On 22nd and 23rd June 2024, Africa Oyé will take over one of the region’s most picturesque green spaces in what has become a Liverpool institution since its humble beginnings as a series of city centre gigs in 1992.

LIVE MUSIC & DANCE

Headlining the live music offering this year are Julian Marley – Grammy Award-winning son of Bob – with his band The Uprising, and the creative feminine force of Les Amazones d’Afrique.

Julian Marley is the son of reggae legend Bob Marley and Lucy Pounder. Growing up as a youth in a musical atmosphere, the singer-songwriter, producer and humanitarian quickly adopted a musical lifestyle and at an early age became a skillful, self-taught musician mastering bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. In 2024 Julian won the Grammy Award for the ‘Best Reggae Album’, with his 2023 record ‘Colors of Royal’, making it the14th Grammy win for the Marley family.

Les Amazones d’Afrique is a creative force formed in Bamako, Mali, in 2014 by three Malian music stars and social change activists, Mamani Kéta, Mariam Doumbia and Oumou Sangaré [who headlined Africa Oyé in 2022]. The collective has since expanded to involve many female artists from across Africa and the diaspora, including Angélique Kidjo, Nneka and rising Malian star Rokia Koné. While their cause, campaigning for gender equality and eradicating ancestral violence, is worthy enough in itself, their musical creative expression is equally powerful.

Also featuring on the Main Stage are, Senegalese electronic duo, Def MaMa Def; Tanzanian folk-fusion pioneers, The Zawose Queens; eco-friendly punks, Fulu Miziki, Ghanaian frafra gospel star, Florence Adooni; Afro-Canadian hip hop outfit, Super Duty Tough Work; Congolese rumba royalty, Nyboma; Haitian multilingual poet and MC, Vox Sambou; and West African griot, Batch Gueye.

In addition, young artists from Liverpool will kick off the daily live entertainment as part of Oyé’s ‘Introduces’ and ‘Community’ programmes. Launched in 2015, ‘Oyé Introduces’ sees local artists open the musical programme on both days of the festival – following community performances by cultural organisations from across the city region – giving some of the area’s brightest young talent the chance to share the stage with international stars.

Angolan rapper and songwriter Yilly Ruel and his band Rax Vibes performs a unique fusion of Hip Hop/Rap and Angolan rhythms, captivating audiences with his exhilarating sound, whilst Fraya Ofoeme is an aspiring singer-songwriter who has been singing since she was 4 years old.

The Community acts for 2024 have also been revealed, with youth dance company MD Productions opening proceedings on the Saturday and Liverpool Hip Hop Festival presenting a showcase of up and coming artists on the Sunday.

Plus, don’t miss Katumba Drumming & Movement’s parade on Sunday; a fierce fusion of UK big beat, Caribbean calypso and the carnivals of North East Brazil.

The Africa Oyé audience are encouraged to do much more than just watch and appreciate the live music at the festival. As part of an extensive offering of free workshops all weekend, Liverpool’s own world dance charity Movema curate the Oyé Active Zone (OAZ), supported by The Granada Foundation. Celebrating 15 years of the OAZ in 2024, expect a range of activities for the whole family, with people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds having the chance to take part in the eclectic mix of activities ,all led by top local and international companies.

As well as the high energy dance workshops provided by Movema themselves, other activities on offer in the OAZ include yoga, capoeira, and traditional drumming circles. Plus, ahead of a main stage set from international star, Vox Sambou, the Haitian MC’s own choreographer, Warda Brédy, will lead a traditional Haitian dance workshop.

In addition to the OAZ, Katumba Drumming and Movement will be leading a parade across the park on the festival Sunday, bringing a melting pot of UK big beat, Caribbean calypso and the carnivals of North East Brazil to create an explosion of rhythmic revelry.

Free workshops also feature elsewhere in the OAZ and around the festival site, with the LFC Foundation offering free sporting activities for children and families; Mr Silky Skills teaching some football freestyle; ‘bath bomb’ making with ethical and fresh cosmetics producers LUSH; arts meeting science with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; we welcome LIPA to the festival; plus ‘Echoes from the Islands’ – an outdoor exhibition highlighting and celebrating the important role of the Windrush Generation on British music; and we welcome back Plastic Tactics, where festival-goers can shred their drinks cup into flakes, melt them in the molding machine, and ‘pull the lever of the future’.

Those interested in learning British Sign Language can also head to the Oyé Access Tent for free BSL classes across the weekend.

LIVE DJ SETS

In recent years, Africa Oyé has gained a reputation for platforming some of the region’s best emerging DJ talent, alongside some familiar faces and a handful of guests from a little further afield.

Two of the UK’s biggest names in African, Caribbean and Afrocentric sounds will play between the live acts on Oyé’s Main Stage this year, whilst the two dedicated DJ stages – Trenchtown and Freetown – will feature an eclectic ensemble of DJs, selectors and collectives, all providing the perfect backdrop to the weekend in Sefton Park.

This year, Seani B marks his Africa Oyé debut. One of the world’s leading dancehall and reggae DJs, Seani’s weekly BBC 1Xtra show is the most listened to specialist programme on the network, as well as having amassed over 90 million views for his sessions from Jamaica. In 2021 he was awarded the prestigious Broadcasters Press Guild Award for ‘Best Broadcaster Of The Year’ across all radio programmes in the UK.

However, it was for his work as a producer that Seani received the ultimate accolade; he won a Grammy for producing tracks on the Morgan Heritage album ‘Strictly Roots’.

Oyé are also delighted to be welcoming back DJ Edu. Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Edu began his career as one of the premier Homeboyz DJ crew, a resident at Carnivore, and as a presenter on Capital FM. Having been voted the Best Kenyan DJ in the UK in 2004, he started to see his life-long ambition materialise; putting the latest and greatest sounds produced by Africa’s new generation on the global map.

Through his BBC Radio1 and 1Xtra platforms, Edu has been able to break some of the biggest names on the global African music scene in the UK, including artists such as K’Naan, Nneka, Akon, and many more.

The Trenchtown Stage

Trenchtown was the festival’s first dedicated DJ space, established in 2012. It has played host to many of the city’s Dub and Reggae-inspired DJs, as well as showcasing some of the more upfront African sounds, including Amapiano, Kwaito, Gqom and Afro House. Trenchtown also features the original Oyé Inn with a comfortable seating area ideal for chilling out, and plenty of space for dancing the weekend away!

This year at Trenchtown, along with a selection of returning Oyé favourites, the festival will welcome some exciting new names, including DJ NS, Lady Spice and DANYKAS DJ. Following their storming set at Oyé ’23, G33 & Hannah Lynch (Girls Don’t Sync) are back to headline Trenchtown on the Saturday evening!

This is followed by a Reggae and Bass-heavy line up on Sunday, including sets by Dub Defenders, In Fine Style and Jamie Ape, to warm everyone up for Julian Marley’s headline set.

The Freetown Stage

Celebrating its sixth year at Oyé, Freetown will offer a diverse programme throughout the weekend, providing the finest in Afrobreat, Afro Disco, Latin and Jazz, as well as Funk, Soul, Hip Hop and Disco.

With seating providing the ideal chill-out zone, and a dancefloor for those that feel like moving, be sure to come along to sit back and relax – or to get up and dance!

2024 will see Freetown debuts from Colin Williams, Amber Rose and more. The festival are also happy to be welcoming back the likes of Eve’s Drop, Dharma Collective, and Lyrical Compact to the Freetown stage.

THE OYE VILLAGE

The eclectic mix of food stalls and traders at the festival have become as big a draw as the live performance in recent years at Africa Oyé. Authentic African, Mediterranean, Asian, English and Caribbean cuisine, traditional French crepes, baguettes, Italian paninis, fresh fruit smoothies, cookies, hot donuts and pastries, and fresh ground coffee will be on sale, along with stalls selling everything from arts, crafts, hats, clothing, jewellery and accessories. You can also find charities, training, demonstrations, workshops, storytelling and more, in the cultural extravaganza known as ‘The Oyé Village’.

ACCESS TENT
The organisers at Africa Oyé continue to strive to make the festival ‘accessible to all’. On-stage BSL accompanies all the festival’s main stage acts and the MC’s announcements, and an Accessible Viewing Platform is available for those who require it. The high definition video wall returns for those with visual impairments, and accessible toilets are available across the site.

The Oyé Access Tent is a place for people with disabilities and their carers to relax and find out more about the festival. The tent is clearly marked ‘Access Tent’. Inside audience members will find large format printed brochures; BSL workshops throughout the weekend and not forgetting a bowl of water for thirsty guide dogs.

More information at africaoye.com/accessibility.

The Africa Oyé Festival takes place on 22nd and 23rd of June 2024 from 12:30pm to 9:30pm both days at Sefton Park in Liverpool. Entrance is free. For more information, please visit africaoye.com