Following significant feedback from the community and growing concerns over COVID-19, the Parramasala Board has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Parramasala Festival. The safety and well being of our communities is of the highest importance to the board, stakeholders and event managers of Parramasala.
Parramasala is a fabulous, colourful FREE celebration of Sydney’s diverse and rich cultures right here in Parramatta. It’s the largest celebration of cultural diversity in NSW and returns in 2020, with a three-day extravaganza of dance, music, art, food and family fun. Plus this year is extra special as Parramasala celebrates it’s 10th birthday – from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March.
This family festival guide highlights key things to see and do at Parramasala, lists the schedule and details how to get to there. The 3-day festival is wheelchair and pram friendly.
Parramasala Top 5 Picks
The Parramasala Festival program is made up of local and international acts representing all corners of the globe. It showcases the international flavour of Sydney through the diversity of the artists, the beauty of dance, delicious food, brilliant world cinema and incredible musicians. We definitely think the Parramasala welcome parade is the jewel in the crown of free events in Parramatta.
1Welcome Parade and 10th Birthday Party | Friday 13th March 7pm-10pm
Parramasala opens with an explosion of colour, movement and sound with the Welcome Parade – a street party like no other! Starting from Parramatta Town Hall at 7pm, over 600 performers – from drummers, dancers, marching bands and colourful costumes to fantastic floats and animals – make their way down Church Street to Prince Alfred Square.
We have been to the welcome parade the few years and really wish someone had told us about it sooner! It’s bedazzling as performance after colourful performance parade pass by. It’s truly an awesome sight to behold! My kids beam from ear to ear, clapping and cheering. A little tip is to book an outside table at one of the many restaurants along Church Street and enjoy dinner while watching the wonderful parade.
Once the parade arrives at Prince Alfred Square, they are met by Aboriginal Elders for a smoking ceremony and welcome to country. Then at 8pm the festivities continue with one of one of the world’s most legendary party bands: the Grammy Award-winning Venezuelan group Los Amigos Invisibles. Plus, there’ll be a spectacular finale lighting up the night sky with the endless colours of Sydney’s many cultures.
2Kids International Eco Village | Sunday 15th March 11am to 4pm
New to Parramasala this year, the Kids International Eco Village will kids the chance to explore, play and create all while learning about how to care for our natural environment. Families can make festive masks, fans and drums, enjoy performances, watch a wildlife display, get involved in eco-friendly activities and have your face painted.
Plus, join in the Parade of Creatures at 1pm – a procession of little dragons, monkeys, tigers and more.
3World Dance Congress | Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March
The World Dance Congress will delight families throughout Parramasala with a dazzling display of dance from around the globe. From the unmistakable rhythms of Indian Bharatanatyam to African street dance, to Middle Eastern belly dancing and traditional Indigenous dance.
4Parramasala Cultural Hub | Sunday 15th March 11am to 5pm
New to Parramasala in 2020, head to the cultural hub to discover food, fashion, music, dance through workshops, demos, tastings and much more.
- 1pm CACAO RITUAL
- 1.10pm Mexican fashion show
- 1.20pm Talks & tasting
- Food tastings by the Nile Kitchen
- Art works from Iran
- 1.45pm Fashion show by Ghan Poshak (Afghanistan)
- 1.50pm Belly dancing
- Food tastings by African fusion
- 2.05pm Fashion show by Johjos
- 2.15pm Lucky African Dance performs
- 2.30pm 2 Sydney Stylists African head wrap demo
- Jamaican delight food tastings
- 2.45pm Ted Vassel – Power cuts radio to DJ til 5pm
- 3.15pm Jamaican dance hall performance/demo
- 3.30pm Double trouble Afro beat performance
- 3.45pm Jamaican dance hall
- 4.15pm – 5pm DJ – Power cuts radio reggae music
5Masala Taste | Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March
Treat your taste buds to the flavours of the world during Parramasala.
- International Food Village: During Parramasala, you’ll be able to soak up the aromas and fill your tummy with the distinct food cultures from across South Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Latin American and the Pacific.
- International Aromas Festival: On Sunday, pop by the brand new pop-up cultural precinct on Market Street, with coffee, sweet treats, chocolate, market stalls, demonstrations and competitions.
- Singapore Airlines Sweet Shoppe: Throughout Parramasala, you’ll be able to indulge your sweet tooth with a varied selection of sweets from around the globe. From rich, flaky baklava, to irresistibly smooth chocolates and everything in between.
Other Things to See and Do at Parramasala
There’s lots more taking place at Parramasala…
6Masala Music Festival | Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March
The electrifying Masala Music Festival showcases the extraordinary talent found in Western Sydney and beyond. It brings together acclaimed musical storytellers, alongside up-and-coming movers and shakers, blending bilingualism with head-bopping beats and soulful strumming. For a full program of artists, head to the Discover Parramatta website.
7Visual Art Installations | Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March
Parramasala this year has teamed up with Parramatta Artist Studios to present a special art installation, Distant Corners. Snap a selfie as you make your way across the four corners of the world in this interactive artwork.
There will also be a special installation by visiting contemporary New Delhi artist Fadescha at Riverside Theatres called Burn All The Books That Call You The Unknown. The installation recreates the theatrics of the dance floor.
8Masala World Movies
From Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th March, there’ll be free screenings of brilliant world cinema on the banks of the Parramatta River foreshore as the sunsets. Keep in mind that the first movie (Bheeshma) is PG and the other two films (Gully Boy and Tanhaji) are M rated.
Parramasala Festival Planner
Here is the schedule of performances and activities for Parramasala from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March.
Getting to Parramasala
Parramasala is located in Prince Alfred Square, along Church Street between Riverside Theatres and Victoria Road.
Prince Alfred Square is close to bus stops along Victoria Road. And an easy 10-15 min walk from Parramatta Station and Bus Interchange. Parramatta Ferry Terminal is also a short 10min walk along the river. For train, bus and ferry timetable information please contact Transport Info on 131 500 or visit www.transportnsw.info
There are a few car parks to choose from nearby: