Skepta talks supporting fresh talent ahead of Big Smoke Festival

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With just one month to go until the inaugural Big Smoke Festival, influential Mercury Prize and Ivor Novello-winning mogul Skepta has discussed the ethos behind the event and his drive to support other artists in an exclusive new video. 

The first ever edition of the event is designed to provide a space to showcase emerging talent, and will take place at Crystal Palace Park on Saturday 6 July

“We remember a time when we were reaching out to people on bigger platforms and just getting nothing,” Skepta says. “It feels good to be the ear that people want to be heard by. I always keep my arm at reach.” 

“Supporting new talent has always been something that’s close to our hearts, not just mine, but Boy Better Know as a team. We’re always an ear to the streets and I think it’s just important for us to put that into a live space. People can feel like they’re going to a different festival. Big Smoke is special.” 

The new one-day music event, Big Smoke, will feature two stages of music personally curated by Skepta, with a star-studded, multi-genre line-up of artists set to make it an unmissable celebration of the music cultures he passionately drives forward. 

The artist himself will headline the Big Smoke stage, with a full-scale festival show and his only UK performance of 2024. He will be joined by The Streets (London exclusive), Mahalia, JME, Lancey, K-Trap, Odumodublvck, The Den featuring Frisco, Flowdan, Sir Spyro, Infamousizak, Manga, Thafirst and more. Elsewhere, the Más Tiempo stage will see huge sets from the biggest international names in house, amapiano and beyond including Loco Dice, Uncle Waffles, Syreeta and Kitty Amor, with more TBC. 

Crystal Palace Park is London’s original outdoor concert venue, with previous performers including The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd. In 2023 the park played host to an array of exciting talent including Iggy Pop and Blondie, The Lumineers, plus Two Door Cinema Club and The Wombats as part of Community Festival Presents.  

As well as Big Smoke, in 2024 the park will host headline shows from The National (Friday 5 July) and Bloc Party (Sunday 7 July).