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14.07.2022, Words by Billy Ward

Fabio & Grooverider and Africa Express announced as headliners for Southend City Festival

The 3-day festival will celebrate Southend's new city status

Festival season is well and truly upon us and Southend City Festival is the latest summer party to get in the mix. Taking place on September 2-4 in a converted aircraft hangar, the upcoming event is expected to draw in more than 10,000 people and will host an array of international superstars and upcoming local talent.

Fronting the line-up, godfathers of the drum ‘n’ bass and jungle scene Fabio & Grooverider will join the Outlook Orchestra for a massive live performance celebrating the past, present and future of UK rave culture. Arguably one of the most illustrious partnerships in dance music history, the drum ‘n’ bass duo remain at the forefront of the scene they helped to to create and are ready to bring the party on the Friday night in celebration of Southend’s new city status.

Joining Fabio & Grooverider on stage, the Outlook Orchestra has collaborated with some of the biggest names in sound system culture from across the globe. Since forming in 2017 as part of Outlook festival, the group has gone on to become a force of its own, taking iconic tracks from the underground and transforming them in ways never before heard on the dance-floor. Led by BASCA award-winning composer Tommy Evans, the Outlook Orchestra features world-renowned musicians and artists such as Congo Natty, Loyle Carner, Newham Generals, Dawn Penn, Pharoahe Monch and more.

Saturday night’s headliner Africa Express have been hailed as one of the most forward-thinking pop acts of the last two decades. Co-founded in 2006 by Damon Albarn, the vibrant collective brings together musicians from different genres, cultures and generations to provide new perspectives on Africa and its music. No two performances are the same when seeing this unique group – with artists taking part in on-the-spot collaboration and improvisation – but what festival-goers can expect is a show to remember.

Africa Express (Photography: Brendan Bell)

Closing proceedings on the Sunday, The Music Man Project is an award-winning music education and performance service for people with learning disabilities. The charity’s acclaimed musicians have previously performed at the Royal Albert Hall and London Palladium, so it’s fitting that they’re taking to the stage for the festival’s grand finale.

Urban spaces around the UK are increasingly being transformed into specialised music destinations, giving us some of the country’s most renowned venues such as Printworks and The Warehouse Project. Following in the footsteps of this trend, Southend City Festival is making use of the city’s airport, re-purposing an aircraft hangar into a state-of-the-art live events arena for weekend.

“We are truly excited to host a festival for Southend. It will bring people together from across the area to celebrate Southend’s city status and experience music from internationally renowned artists,” says Glyn Jones, chief executive officer of London Southend Airport.

“We are working with some incredible, experienced partners and are delighted to be playing our part in putting our vibrant city on the festival map,” he adds.

Tickets are available now here and cost £20 for the Friday and Saturday and £10 for the Sunday. Accessible and child friendly options are also available.


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