Parramasala 2020: A decade of diversity

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WhatsApp Image 2020-02-02 at 3.47.24 AM (4)Celebrating ten years of diversity, Parramasala‘s 2020 Program running from 13 – 15 March is below with a jam-packed program of multicultural merriment. One of the largest celebrations of cultural diversity in NSW, the three-day extravaganza will transform Parramatta into a vibrant cultural wonderland, brimming with intoxicating sights and sounds.

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The full 2020 program features ten year highlight programming, a handpicked selection of the most vivid, awe-inspiring experiences from across the festival’s rich history: from exciting highlight events, to rousing live music performances, mouth-watering culinary offerings, and breathtaking dance, plus plenty for kids too.

“Parramasala has become an unmissable part of our multicultural calendar over the past decade. The festival is an extraordinary celebration of our cultural diversity and has promoted rich cultural expression and community participation. Parramasala’s ten-year anniversary is a huge milestone for Western Sydney and the diverse communities of our State. The 2020 program will be packed with something for everyone,” said Acting Minister for Multiculturalism Geoff Lee. 

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“For the past 10 years, Parramasala has showcased what makes our City so special – our incredible cultural diversity, high energy, and inspiring creativity. But this year’s anniversary line-up will be bigger and better than ever, with performances and food offerings representing all corners of the globe. Come along to soak up the best of what Parramatta has to offer,” said City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer.

Every year, the massive three-day extravaganza sees over 35,000 Sydneysiders converging on Parramatta’s Prince Alfred Square and its surrounds. The city will transform into a cornucopia of incredible experiences, including cutting-edge live music, vivid dance and theatre, a breathtaking parade of splendid colour, spectacular costumes, and beating rhythms.

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The iconic Welcome Parade (13 March) returns bigger for than ever for Parramasala’s tenth anniversary, with an exhilarating procession of over 600 performers, drummers and musicians forming a cavalcade of colour, music and movement.

The 10th Birthday Party (13 March) will celebrate a decade of Parramasala: from its South Asian origins, across countless highlights and cross-cultural sharing. Come celebrate with a big birthday bash after the Welcome Parade, with a spectacular finale lighting up the twilight sky with the endless colours of Sydney’s many cultures.

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At the Opening Night Party (13 March), kick-start the festivities with one of one of the world’s most legendary party bands – Los Amigos Invisibles. With twelve critically-acclaimed albums under their belts, a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album, plus an impressive five Grammy nominations, Los Amigos Invisibles (“the invisible friends”) have been trailblazers of hybrid Latin dance music for nearly twenty years. The trio have steadily built up an international legion of devoted fans, swept up by their energetic combination of groovy funk, driving Latin rhythms and big city beats.

Break bread, share your story, and reflect on a decade of multiculturalism at the Long Table Brunch – I Will Eat With You (15 March). Ease into Sunday by experiencing the simple beauty of people joining together with no agendas or co-opting of the gathering: politicians, religious leaders and community members enjoying a multicultural feast to delight the senses, and nothing more, in this all-inclusive communal feast, where everyone has a place.


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At the Masala Music Festival (14 – 15 March), acclaimed musical storytellers feature alongside up-and-coming moving and shakers, blending bilingualism with head-bopping beats and soulful strumming. The electrifying Masala Music Festival showcases the extraordinary talent found in the cultural hotbed of Western Sydney and beyond.

Catch awesome free live performances from Sampa the Great, fluidly merging classic hip-hop, spiritually-minded gospel and chants, neo soul and ancient Southern African sounds; triple ARIA-nominated artist Mojo Juju, whose fresh take on blues and soul drives to tell stories that have been conventionally silenced; and Adrian Eagle, whose recent smash hit ‘A.O.K’ earnt an ARIA nomination for Best Soul/R&B Release.

Up-and-coming wavemakers include Miiesha, who has performed with Indigenous Australian hip-hop stars Baker Boy and Briggs; bilingual Persian rapper CHAII, who was rapping Eminem lyrics before she’d even learnt her first words of English; and Temgazi, who guest features on multi-platinum selling artist Timomatic’s 2019 single ‘Wait in Vain.’


The International Food Village (13 – 15 March) is your culinary passport to a mouth-watering array of delectable delights. Soak up the intoxicating aromas of distinct food cultures from across South Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Latin American, and the Pacific. Grab a plate, and immerse yourself in a world of flavor, with a handpicked selection offering the best food experience of the many “flavours of Sydney.”

Swing by the International Aromas Festival (15 March), the brand new pop-up cultural precinct at Market Street pairing coffee, sweet treats, chocolate and market stalls, in celebration of the humble coffee bean’s widespread embrace in global cultures. Sample delicious coffee and other brewed pleasures from around the world: from cardamom-infused Turkish coffee brewed in a traditional ibrik, to the famously sought-after Indonesian kope luwak, to the spicy, aromatic warmth of chai, and beyond.


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The World Dance Congress will introduce audiences to the world’s wonderfully diverse range of dance styles. The Congress is a lively invitation to share cultures through costume, colour and movement – from the unmistakable rhythms of Indian Bharatanatyam to African street dance, to Middle Eastern bellydancing and traditional Indigenous dance.

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As the sun begins to set, the festival comes alight with Masala Nights (14 March). Get swept away in a heady cocktail of rhythm and colour, as dance cultures from the Pacific, Asia, and the Middle East come together over for a dazzling demonstration of cross-cultural unity. Masala Nights will fill the twilight sky with the kaleidoscopic colours of Sydney’s many cultures.

This year’s Visual Arts (13 – 15 March) offering allows you to feast your mind as well as your senses. Parramasala teams up with Parramatta Artist Studios to present special installation Distant Corners, bringing the world to the feet of thousands of Parramasala attendees. Snap a selfie as you make your way across the four corners of the world in this interactive artwork.


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Gather your nearest and dearest, and settle in for Masala World Movies (12 – 14 March), with free screenings of brilliant world cinema on the lush banks of the Parramatta River foreshore by twilight. The program offers a strong showcase of the burgeoning South Asian film industry and beyond, with a stellar selection of titles from all across the globe. There’s something for everyone, so take your pick from side-splitting comedies to tear-jerking dramas, plus family-friendly flicks for the little ones too.

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Titles this year include Miracle in Cell No. 7, following a man wrongfully jailed and his daughter’s journey to prove his innocence; Ardaas Karaan, about three elderly men who realise each generation of their families has deeply conflicting opinions on life; Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan, a follow-up to 2017’s popular romantic comedy Shubh Mangal Saavdhan; and The Run, a documentary on Aussie ultramarathon runner Pat Farmer dodging cattle and nearly collapsing from dehydration as he completes the Spirit of India trek in 64 days.


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The Kids International Eco Village (15 March) is a world of surprise and wonder for the little ones. An opportunity for kids to explore, play and create. Get involved in interactive workshops on cultural arts, enjoy family-friendly music and entertainment, catch incredible magic shows, eco-friendly activities and free face-painting, all while learning about how to care for our natural environment.

Kids can also discover their Chinese Zodiac sign at the Zodiac station. Get your face painted and truly become your Zodiac animal, taking cues from the giant animal lanterns, then join in the Parade of Creatures at 1pm – a procession of little dragons, monkeys, tigers and more.

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Friday 13 March – Sunday 15 March, 2020
Prince Alfred Square, Parramatta

Photography: Salty Dingo

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