Top 5 May Bank Holiday Festivals in London 2023

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Clunk Magazine

This year's late May Bank Holiday (26th-29th) is absolutely stacked. With a mix of newcomers and old favourites, the line-ups are all quality, presenting you with an impossible decision of which one to buy tickets for. Even if you've got enough in the tank to hit one a day, you'll still never catch them all. Here's our guide on the Top 5, hopefully helping you decide:

GALA '23

London On The Inside

26th - 28th May | Peckham Rye Park, 34 Straker's Rd, SE15 3UA | Tickets from £37.50

Held across three dates in Peckham Rye Park over the Bank Holiday weekend, Gala is an exciting, wide-ranging dance festival that hosts the best of mainstream and underground talent in the UK and abroad. The Friday lineup has Congo Natty, Jordan Rakei, Leon Vynehall, Romare, Nubya Garcia, and Punjabi garage star Yung Singh; the Saturday has Overmono, Anz, and The Orb with a live set; the Sunday has Rhythm Section's Bradley Zero, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Kornél Kovács, Mr Scruff, and Hunee. If you know you know. If you're into your underground stuff, and hold an apreciation for quality set design, Gala might be the one. 

Tickets are available for purchase on each date, so pick your favourite date of either the Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to plan your weekend around. For the price of a cheap night out, a top quality dance line-up is yours to enjoy. See more info here and lineup and tickets here

Project 6 Festival

26th of May | Brockwell Park, Brockwell, London, SE24 0NG | Tickets from £40

The newcomer, the underdog ready to take the others by storm. Either a combination of incredible organisation or even more incredible beginners luck, Project 6 boasts one of the most impressive line-ups not just of London over the bank holiday, but of the UK this year. A combined effort from Outlook Festival and Undivide brings together a list of huge artists including jungle legends Fabio & Grooverider, Goldie, Shy FX, Dillinja, Sully, and DJ Randall, dubstep legends and heavyweights including Mala (with jazz artist Joe Armon-Jones), Kahn + Neek, and Commodo, and the elite of UK rap with D Double E, Novelist, Ghetts, Finn Foxell, Nix Northwest, and Flowdan. For any fan of UK dance or rap music this is a dream come true. 

It's only for the Friday mind, there's no second date. For a ludicrous price of £40 you'd be silly to not consider it. View full line-up and ticket info here

NTS Presents One Day Festival


Saturday 27th of May | Burgess Park, Albany Rd, London SE5 0AL | Tickets are £35

One of the most varied line-ups of the year, NTS's One Day Festival is London's other newcomer this Bank Holiday. With jazz artists including Mansur Brown and Nala Sinephro, hip-hop artists like Cruel Santino, JPEGMAFIA, and Zack Foxx, and Detroit House legend Theo Parrish with a two-hour set. I'm unsure what demographic this line-up is catered to, whose musical passion lies in the trisecting venn diagram between London jazz, memerap, and legacy house, but this is a wet dream for that particular audience. That's the beauty of this Bank Holiday, there is truly something for everyone, an evermore impossible act in the fractured age of music streaming. 

See full line-up and ticket info here.

Wide Awake 2023

Clunk Magazine

Saturday 27th of May | Brockwell Park, Herne Hill, Brixton, SE24 0NG | Tickets from £59.50

A relative newcomer to the London festival scene, Wide Awake unfortunately had its first iteration one year before Covid came and sacked the lot. But despite a rocky start and a lot of competition, it has established itself as a major player. Managing to nab Caroline Polachek as a main headliner is a great bit of business, as well as Alex G, Black Country, New Road, Shygirl, and the formidable Jockstrap, the winners of Culture Calling's 2022 Album of the Year. Held at the same venue as Cross The Tracks, if you wanted to you could make both on the same weekend. 


See the full line-up and ticket info here

Cross The Tracks


Sunday 28th of May | Brockwell Park, Herne Hill, Brixton, SE24 0NG | Tickets from £69.50

This list isn't ordered by preference, but if it had to be, Cross The Tracks would be No.1. The best day festival for funk, soul, and jazz, this years lineup boasts supergroup NxWorries, London jazz stalwarts Ezra Collective, Alfa Mist, Gilles Peterson, and Roy Ayers on his farewell tour. Bringing the best of jazz legacy and jazz future together, Cross The Tracks is the comprehensive day festival for the zealots.

It has the double benefit of being held on the Sunday, meaning you can hit day festivals on the Friday and Saturday as well as  Cross The Tracks on the Sunday. If you have it in you that is, but Cross The Tracks is a more laidback affair; perch on the grass while letting the cool vibrations of Roy Ayers and Alfa Mist wash over you. Weekend sorted. 

See the full line-up and ticket info here

Culture Calling's Recommendation

If it were up to me, your weekend would go as follows:

Friday: Project 6 Festival

Saturday: Wide Awake 

Sunday: Cross The Tracks

These three achieve the best balance of jazz, UK dance, rock, indie, soul, hip-hop, and experimental. GALA looks outstanding for dance fans, but neither the Friday or Sunday are good enough to supplant the bounty of Project 6 and Cross The Tracks. NTS' One-Day festival is exciting, but I'm aware the niche will be lost on many. Have a look before you book!