Words by Ed King / Pics courtesy of UPRIZE CIC
Today, in a few hours time (we’re posting early/late), The Flyover Show returns to Birmingham – to ‘once again transform the grey space beneath the Hockley flyover into an oasis of cultural expression’.
It’s bold rhetoric, but Soweto Kinch’s ‘one-day festival of music, art & dance’ does pretty much exactly that – building a seriously serious stage and soundsystem on the forgotten grey concourse that connects the underpasses of Hockley Circus (see above).
Add an international line up of reggae, roots, jazz, soul and hip hop, with a sprinkling of homegrown talent, turn the oven to Gas Mark Free Entry and cook on a slow heat between 12:30pm and 9pm. Crikey Nigella, this puts your aubergine pasties to shame.
You’ll forgive me. I get somewhat excited about The Flyover Show. But it is a remarkable event, and not just for the line ups and artists that it brings to the city (The Flyover Show 2010 was the first time I saw Akala). Soweto Kinch consistently challenges the preconceptions that Lozells, Handsworth and the less bohemian patches of Hockley are marred with – combating tired media with a line up that the Symphony Hall would soil themselves to get.
And it’s free. It’s Free. IT’S ALL FOR FREE. Tell me of another fully community focused event in Birmingham, with no door charge, that welcomes all ages, and has the same brash line up panache and cultural gall – combining international legends (this year it’s the jazz and reggae guitar great, Ernest Ranglin) with homegrown talent and UK wide headliners . I’ll give you some time… you can’t, can you?
So… (cue dream swirls, wavy trail hands and nostalgia glockenspiel…) Why are we here? The Flyover Show began back in 2008, as Soweto Kinch was on a photoshoot in the derelict underbelly of the Hockley flyover. For more background on The Flyover Show from the man himself, read Helen Knott’s interview with Soweto Kinch – click here.
Recognising the acoustics, and being tired of the one sided reputation the area has carried for some years, Kinch decided to throw a big party. Well, what better way to combat a media circus than with music, dancing and food. The Flyover Show held its inaugural event in May 2008; what started as good idea gathered some serious momentum, then a following, and after seeing the likes of Andy Hamilton, Bashy, Goldie, Lady Dynamite, Akala, and Goldie all headline The Flyover Show (plus a jaunt across the world to hold The Flyover Show in Johannesburg) The Flyover Show took a break after 2012.
Now, four years since around 6,000 people turned up to see Maxi Priest headline, The Flyover Show is back – with the renowned jazz/reggae guitarist, Ernest Ranglin, sitting at the top of the bill.
Ernest Ranglin has played with an absurdly sexy portfolio of artists, and was music director for both Island Records and Studio One back in the days when you would really, really want those jobs. Plus this is part of Ernest Ranglin’s farewell tour – a globetrotting series of goodbye gigs that reads Glastonbury, The Barbican, Montreux jazz festival, Istanbul Jazz Festival, The Flyover Show… erm, I think that’s pronounced ‘SCORE’.
Next on the line up is Eska, who if you’ve not heard of before just stop reading… click on Google (or our links)… type in ‘Eska Music’ and start reading again. Eska grew up with The Flyover Show, is generally quite spectacular, and her set at the recent Mostly Jazz festival was one of the highlights of the weekend. Now you can see her FOR FREE at The Flyover Show.
Also this year event sees the welcome return of Basil Gabbidon, a Birmingham reggae legend and founding member of Steel Pulse, who will be playing with his own band and possibly someone else’s… but you’ll have to be at The Flyover Show to see this in all its mystery and glory.
Then there’s top some draw jazz from Reuben James, Alex Wilson and Soweto Kinch himself. Whilst in the home grown cooler we have Juice Aleem, Call Me Unique, TrueMendous, RTKal, Deci4life, Affie Jam, Amerah Saleh, Aliyah Hasinah, Alisha Kadir, Jae Sosa and Trope.
Oh, and did I mention it’s free..?
The Flyover Show runs from 12:30pm to 9pm, on the concourse inside Hockely Circus – underneath the Hockley flyover. Entry is free all day.
Here’s a few helpful online links to find and find out about The Flyover Show:
Google Maps (to Hockley Circus/event site): https://goo.gl/maps/2JzEPdR2jZ92
The Flyover Show on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheFlyoverShow/
The Flyover Show on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Flyovershow