Over the weekend, VIPER went to Hyde Park to experience a summer day of R&B, new-age Soul and Pop music. American Express presents BST Hyde Park did not disappoint, kicking off its summer series with international singer-songwriter SZA as headliner. A day clearly spotlighting R&B and everything in between, BST delighted attendees with its diverse lineup.

Across three separate stages showcasing different artists throughout the day. The Rainbow Stage highlighted new UK talent, starting with Hope Tala, followed by Sekou, and closing with the R&B boy group No Guidnce. The Birdcage Stage was dedicated to up-and-coming artists, featuring Jessy Blakemore, Nia Smith, and Fabiana Palladino.

The main stage, the Great Oak Stage, boasted a stunning greenery theme with a large oak tree branching over stage left. Vocalist Elmiene, best known for his melodic hit ‘Someday,’ kicked off the day, followed by Snoh Aalegra, who graced the stage with a live band playing a catalog of her most loved hits from her 2019 album ‘- Ugh, those feels again.Sampha then gave a full live performance, featuring a complex musical setup with percussionists and background vocals accompanying him in his eclectic renditions of ‘Without,’ ‘Spirit 2.0,’and his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, ‘Father Time.

At 9PM, the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived. SZA blew away the crowd ahead of her Glastonbury performance, debuting her brand-new stage set and introducing her new era. SZA appeared on stage surrounded by greenery, insects, and trees, welcoming fans from a podium encircled by dancers. She even teased an upcoming album, asking the audience, “New album, y’all ready?” during her set, and later posted a snippet of a new single on Instagram.

SZA’s setlist and visuals paid homage to her debut album CTRL, a critically acclaimed and cult classic amongst fans. She delivered effortless renditions of sultry CTRL classics like ‘Broken Clocks’, ‘Prom’, and ‘Go Gina’. SZA showcased her creative flair with unique transitions, blending influences like Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Big Poppa’ into her performance of ‘Go Gina’. She also covered Prince’s ‘Kiss’ before segueing into her hit collaboration with Doja Cat, ‘Kiss Me More’. SZA got the crown jumping with her performance of ‘Rich Baby Daddy’, from  Drake’s latest album featuring the rapper and Sexyy Red and later closed the show with ‘20 Something’ which she dedicated to fans. SZA truly gave fans everything they wanted and more, leaving great momentum for her Glastonbury performance and building anticipation for her new album.

American Express presents BST Hyde Park kicked off summer right, leaving us feeling nostalgic and reminded of the incredible R&B talent representing the UK. The hospitality, viewing variety, and overall experience were unmatched. If you’re looking for a new summer experience, BST Hyde Park has you covered with seven more live events throughout July, showcasing a variety of talents from Andrea Bocelli to Kylie Minogue, and the grounds is open to the public through out the week to enjoy  activities and the various food trucks. Head to American Express presents BST Hyde Park for all the details, and check out our Instagram reel for further insights into our time at Saturday’s event.

Written by @nyasa_esme 




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