Lambeth Country Show: a people’s party for party people

Now in its 42nd year, Lambeth Country Show returns to Brockwell Park on 16-17 July with eclectic outdoor pursuits and a stonking musical lineup of old and new school big hitters.

Incognito Band, with founder Bluey on the far left
Incognito Band, with founder Bluey on the far left

Every year Lambeth Country Show attracts over 100,000 visitors to Brockwell Park for a free open-air celebration of city and country. A slightly bonkers mix of traditional country fair and urban music festival, this year’s event promises horticultural shows, sheep dog & owl displays, vegetable and flower competitions, and numerous craft and food stalls – not forgetting the Chucklehead Cider tent.

Music is, of course, the main attraction for many and this year won’t disappoint, with a discerning selection of reggae, folk, ska and soul on offer. We caught up with Main Stage producer Nicky Ezer from Culture Productions to find out more about this year’s lineup. “We stay old school and bring in the new school,” she said, “with Incognito and their full band headlining Saturday the park will be alive and dancing.”

Mobo award winning Stylo G
Mobo Award winning Stylo G

“The fresh vibes of [Mobo Award winning reggae artist] Stylo G alongside Jamaican legends on Roots Reggae Day on Sunday, plus a tribute to the amazing Rico Rodriguez, will as usual bring Caribbean sunshine to Brockwell Park,” she added.

Locals can expect classic tunes from Brixton resident and reggae veteran Little Roy on the Sunday. “I’m celebrating my 50th year in the business this year,” he told The Brixton Bugle, “I always look forward to my shows…I’ll be playing some of my famous songs.” Which means we’re likely to hear his acclaimed Nirvana covers from 2011 album Battle for Seattle.

Reggae legend Little Roy. Image courtesy BBC
Reggae legend Little Roy. Image courtesy BBC

Headlining on Saturday are acid jazz legends Incognito, following the release of their latest album ‘In Search Of Better Days’ last month. Famous for hit cover tracks such as ‘Always There’ and ‘Don’t you worry ’bout a thing’, this is an exciting opportunity to catch these seminal performers onstage with a full 10-piece band.

Founding member Bluey has fond memories of Brixton: “it’s where I spent a lot of my youth, where I learnt the ways of London,” he told us when we called him ahead of the event, “I feel like celebrating life whenever I’m in Brixton.” From recording early Incognito music in local studios in the 70s and 80s, to regularly playing the Fridge Bar in the early 90s, the band have some serious Brixton heritage.

Other Main Stage acts include Jamaican reggae star Johnny Clarke, Mancunian hip-hoppers the Mouse Outfit, top UK saxophonist YolanDa Brown, and high-energy South London ska rockers Chainska Brassika. Head to the Village Green Stage for a range of local bands as Oxjam Clapham take over, with music from Brixton on the Saturday and Clapham on the Sunday.

With local councils cutting cultural services left, right and centre, it’s heartening to see big local events such as Lambeth Country Show retain funding in this harsh economic climate. Opportunities for locals from all parts of our community to come together and have fun without having to spend money are becoming increasingly rare. “Long may Lambeth continue to fund such an event,” says Nicky from Culture Productions. Amen to that.