Live Report: Cloud X Festival

An insular festival experience with underground appeal...

In partnership with Raw Materials (a South London charity that nurtures talent and helps people break into the industry), Cloud X Festival has returned a year after its triumphant, sold-out debut in 2021, this time with a multi-genre, majority-female lineup, including South-London rapper Scuti and soul singer Sasha Keable.

The independent, boutique festival looks to champion new talent and established artists alike. It represents a flourishing branch of the city’s independent music scene through it’s events, label and management team. A principle that remained very much at the forefront of this year’s festival where we got to see some of the best young talents London offers. When speaking about the festival founder David Dabieh said: “Cloud X aims to nurture and encourage the quality of simply being oneself! Every year our boutique and homegrown Cloud X Festival aims to curate an inclusive space for the next generation of pioneering creatives that are telling their stories in bold and original ways. It’s all in the detail!”

Live Report: Cloud X Festival
Soulection’s Joe Kay by @shotybnee

This year Cloud X took place for the second time in Studio 338, a hidden gem nestled in the back streets of North Greenwich. It was surprising to see such an aesthetically powerful venue be so tucked out of the way. With 28-degree weather and clear skies, the curated sounds of Soulection kicked off the event outside to a generous crowd. The DJ selection made the Outdoor Garden a vibrant hub throughout the festival, with food stalls and flowing drinks keeping the revellers fed and effectively juiced for all the unique acts to come. Sustenance is an essential component when you have the likes of Santino Le Saint, FelixTheFirst and JoJo on the bill.

Live Report: Cloud X Festival
Santino Le Saint by @branholloway

Over in the Indoor Terrace, two members of the pioneering West London NiNE8 collective took to the stage in succession, the first being NAYANA IZ whose genre-bending sound has seen her star rise since the release of her debut EP ‘SMOKE & FLY’. NAYANA’s performance was a raw and authentic experience, especially when the kinetic percussion of ‘TNT’ hit, her rap-sung cadence made it abundantly clear that she is not an artist to be overlooked. The second, Biig Piig, one of the founding members of the collective, best known for her breakout singles ‘Feels Right’ and ‘Oh No’, projected a ethereal blend of hip-hop, pop and neo-soul across the audience, much to their delight. You wouldn’t think it from the delicate nature of some of her releases but Biig Piig stood as one of the most high-energy performances of the festival.

Live Report: Cloud X Festival
Biig Piig by @cosmorush_

However, the crown for performance and impact – if one had to be bestowed – would definitely go to Sam Wise. It’s no surprise why he’s one of the UK’s most-loved artists within the progressive rap space, applauded for his unmissable live shows. Performing some of his best-known tracks and dedicating time to give nods to both Juls and Knucks (the latter having collaborated on Sam Wise’s critically acclaimed debut album ‘Free Game’). He brought the perfect amount of fire to the crowd, leaving them on a palpable high that lasted for the rest of the event.

Live Report: Cloud X Festival
Sam Wise by @ceys.pics

The one-day festival was the perfect place to catch some of the best developing artists around. If seeing iconic musicians on the come-up is your bag, given the runaway success of both iterations of the festival so far, next year won’t be one to miss out on.

Words: Naima Sutton

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