The son of music legend Bob Marley and a female supergroup will headline the acclaimed Africa Oyé Festival this summer.

The powerful and creative force of Les Amazones d’Afrique will close proceedings on Saturday 22nd June, whilst Julian Marley, fresh off his Grammy win for Best Reggae Album earlier this month, tops the bill on Sunday with his band, The Uprising.

The country’s biggest celebration of African and Caribbean music and culture is returning to Liverpool’s Sefton Park in 2024 following record breaking attendances last year. The free festival will take over one of the city’s most picturesque green spaces for two packed days of live music, dance, workshops, DJ stages, food stalls, traders and more.

Born in London in 1975, Julian Marley is the son of reggae legend Bob Marley and Barbados-born Lucy Pounder. Growing up as a youth in a musical atmosphere, the Grammy Award winning musician, singer-songwriter, producer and humanitarian quickly adopted a musical lifestyle, and at an early age and became a skillful, self-taught musician mastering the bass, drums, guitar and keyboards.

In 2005, along with the Marley family, Julian embarked on a series of ‘Africa Unite’ performances which began in Ethiopia and included Ghana in 2006 and Jamaica in 2008. At the invitation of the Jamaican government, Julian Marley and The Uprising performed during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and celebrated along-side Jamaica’s Gold medal-winning runner, Usain Bolt.

Julian Marley ranks higher in the consciousness movement of music than most reggae artists recognised today. In the same tradition as his father, Julian is a devout Rastafarian whose music is inspired by life and spirituality.

Les Amazones d’Afrique – originally booked to play the festival in 2020 before the pandemic led to cancellations of events across the country – is a creative force that embraces international voices; sweet, strong harmonies that summon the rights of women and girls; and a meltdown of heritage and new talent. They were formed in Bamako, Mali, in 2014 by three renowned Malian music stars and social change activists, Mamani Keïta, Oumou Sangaré (who headlined Africa Oyé in 2022) and Mariam Doumbia, and the collective has since expanded to involve many female artists from across Africa and the diaspora, including Angélique Kidjo, Nneka and rising Malian star Rokia Koné.

While their cause — campaigning for gender equality and eradicating ancestral violence — is worthy enough in itself, their musical creative expression is equally powerful. Richly melodic and  far-ranging, it blends pan-African styles and collaborative harmonies with gritty, contemporary pop.

The band have previously cracked The Guardian’s Top 50 albums of 2017, NPR Music’s best albums of 2020, and featured on Barrack Obama’s playlist. They have performed on Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid stage and featured on flagship BBC music show Later… with Jools Holland.

Beginning over three decades ago in 1992 as a series of shows in the city centre, the Africa Oyé Festival has evolved into one of Liverpool’s most beloved annual events, attracting artists and attendees from across the world.

The Oyé Active Zone on site will once again be hosted by Liverpool’s world dance charity Movema, and audiences can expect the usual array of multi-arts workshops across the whole weekend, for all ages and abilities. The increasingly-popular DJ stages Trenchtown and Freetown are also confirmed to return with a line-up of local selectors and MCs to be announced later in the spring.

More of the main stage artists will be revealed soon and the young local artists who applied to play the festival will soon find out whether they made it onto this year’s Oyé Introduces programme, which sees up-and-coming North West talent showcased on the line-up alongside the international heavyweights. Oyé’s ethos of being ‘free and open to all’ also means that the popular Access Tent, on-stage British Sign Language translators and the Accessible Viewing Platform will all return for this year’s festival.

Paul Duhaney, Artistic Director of Africa Oyé said:

“We have always prided ourselves on booking headliners that wouldn’t be out of place on the best ticketed festivals in the country and this year is no different.

Les Amazones d’Afrique are the definition of a supergroup – so much talent coming together to create something really special, and it’s great to see their new album getting mainstream attention on the likes of 6Music.

And with Julian Marley you’ve got a reggae superstar that has truly emerged from his father’s shadow – you don’t win Grammys without being an incredible talent in your own right and it’ll be a Sunday night for the history books when he closes the festival this year”.

This year’s Africa Oyé festival will take place on June 22nd and 23rd 2024, in Liverpool’s Sefton Park from 12:30pm til 9:30pm both days and entrance is FREE.

Categories: 2024 | Festival | Free | Music | News | World Culture | World Music

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