Photography: Mark McNulty Photography: Mike Sheerin

To brighten up your isolation weekends, we’re bringing Africa Oyé direct to your homes, in partnership with Melodic Distraction Radio. For the past nine weeks, we’ve been bringing you an exclusive live mix recorded at Africa Oyé 2019, a slice of that trademark Oyé vibe that you can enjoy over and over again. The series of DJ sessions from the Trenchtown and Freetown stages – where the sounds of Afro-centric music are pumped out non-stop to keep the groove riding high in Sefton Park – have all been building to the weekend that would have marked the 28th version of Africa Oyé festival in Sefton Park.

We’re delighted to bring you a special mix which perfectly encapsulates the festival’s addictive, insatiable vibe. This is a new mix from RICHIE VEGAS, a core member of the Oyé team who programmes the DJ stages each year. His Confusion In Babylon mix (below) is what he would have played on opening up the festival this year. He’s also given us some insight into what he would have been doing at this stage if the festival were going ahead, giving a glimpse of the effort that is put in by dozens of people to make Africa Oyé one of the most special happenings in the city.

Also, we’ve dug out a special Oyé podcast from the archives, that was recorded on site in Sefton Park during Africa Oyé 2014! Scroll down below to hear that.


“It’s strange to be sitting here in mid-June, both finding the time and finding myself writing this. It’s raining quite heavily outside – just 48 hours before 2020’s Africa Oyé Festival would be opening – and I know we’d all be getting a little twitchy, refreshing BBC Weather on the regs to confirm the short term prognosis. Still, I know what I’d rather be doing…

“I’ve booked the DJs for the Trenchtown and Freetown stages at the festival for over 10 years, but haven’t DJed at Africa Oyé myself since 2017, and was probably going to give myself the opening set of the Saturday, in order to keep myself free for other responsibilities throughout the weekend. And this is what I’d have played – an hour of super-chilled, super-bassy roots reggae and dub. Music with a message. Music with heart, soul, and the burden of history.

“In some ways it’s the best set of the two days – the earlybirds arriving for the day, traders all set up and mooching the other stalls, the smell of BBQ beginning to waft across the field – but not usually the one that most other DJs clamour for. Suits me.

“Africa Oyé represents my adopted hometown and our community at its best – a completely inclusive, free, celebration of African music and culture – and something I feel will be even more acutely missed in 2020.

“To all those that make the festival happen – from the crew, stewards and traders, through to the DJs, performers and volunteers, and most importantly the incredible crowd that turns up each year, a heartfelt thank you for making the event what it is. Look forward to dancing with you soon…”



In 2014, we took our recording equipment down to Sefton Park on a typically sweltering June weekend to record a special version of our Bido Lito! Podcast, live from Africa Oyé. Host Mo Stewart and then Bido Editor Christopher Torpey spoke to Oyé’s artistic director Paul Duhaney as the festival got in to full swing, with the unmistakable sound of the festival as the perfect backdrop. We also had music from Joe Driscoll’s live performance on the main stage (alas, Sekou Kouyate couldn’t make it on the day), as well as an interview with Driscoll backstage. Host Mo also went on a walkabout around the festival site, speaking with regular traders News From Nowhere, dane group Movema, charity Be One Percent and a host of other traders and festivalgoers. That trademark, joyous Oyé vibe seeps in to all aspects of the recording; if you really miss that Oyé experience, this is as close as you’ll get without actually being there!



Imagine you’re stood in Sefton Park right now, with the sun beating down on you, and that famous Oyé vibe all around. Turn the sound up nice and high and you’ll practically be able to feel it.



Mix 1 – Emily Dust // Mix 2 – Dharma Collective + Dash // Mix 3 – Giovanna // Mix 4 – Thom White // Mix 5 – DJ Scratchy // Mix 6 – Keith Marley // Mix 7 – DJ Holmesy // Mix 8 – Jess Gascoigne // Mix 9 – Hustle & Zacharia Soul

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