Parramasala is a fabulous, colourful FREE celebration of Sydney’s diverse and rich cultures right here in Parramatta. It runs from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th March and is the flagship festival of Multicultural March. Parramasala brings together performances, food, markets and music from over 30 different cultures in a party like, family friendly atmosphere.
This family guide highlights a few key things to do at the festival, lists the schedule and details how to get to Parramasala. The 3-day festival is wheelchair and pram friendly.
Parramasala Festival 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 and incredible musicians.
We definitely think the Parramasala welcome parade is the jewel in the crown of free events in Parramatta.
1Welcome Parade: Friday 15th March 7pm to 8:30pm
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 500 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 last two years and really wish someone had told us about it sooner! Both times we were bedazzled as performance after colourful performance paraded passed us on the Lennox Bridge, over an hour. It’s truly an awesome sight to behold! My kids beamed from ear to ear and clapped along. And we are very much looking forward to the parade this year.
Once the performances arrive at Prince Alfred Square, they are met by Aboriginal Elders for a smoking ceremony and welcome to country. And at 8:30pm there will be a First Nations Concert featuring Emma Donovan and the Putbacks, Calina Lawrence, Alice Skye and Kaiit.
A little tip is to book an outside table at one of the many restaurants along Church Street and enjoy dinner while watching the festival.
2Parramasala Workshops: Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th March
The whole family can enjoy a range of workshops at Parramasala, learning about different cultures through art, dance and play! There are over 20 workshops running across Saturday and Sunday from 10/10:30am to 6pm/6:30pm. No bookings are required, you just drop in.
- Sustainable craft workshops include Pacific Island weaving, Indigenous art with eel trap and spear making, plus recycled art workshops run by The Bower (Sydney’s reuse and repair centres).
- The air will be filled with the beautiful sounds of Indigenous storytelling and Sufi poetry. Plus music including Arabic drumming and West African Rhythms Drumming.
- Get into the groove and attend one of the many dance workshops including Indigenous, Bollywood, Pacific Island traditional and fire dance, belly dancing, and even a street dancing competition!
3The Westies Market | Sunday 17th March 10am to 3pm
In between enjoying live music and workshops, you can wander around the Westies Market on Sunday 17th March from 10am to 3pm. There will be specially curated stall holders selling a diverse range of products that reflect the rich and varied residents of Western Sydney.
4Holi Festival – River Foreshore | Sunday 17th March 10am to 5pm
Head down to Parramatta River Foreshore on Sunday 17th March from 10am to 5pm for the Holi Festival of Colour. It’s a free event as part of Parramasala. There will be non-stop colour throwing and live DJ, plus kids activities, food stalls and merchandise stalls.
5Masala World Food Markets | Friday 15th to Sunday 17th March
New to Parramasala this year is a bustling food precinct that will see your taste buds travelling the world without leaving Parramatta! From spicy Indian to sizzling satay and delectable souvlaki – your taste buds will be delighted. The Masala World Food Markets open on Friday at 5pm and will be open Saturday and Sunday from about 10am to 9pm.
To make it easier to bring the world to your plate, there’s a Singapore Airlines Food Passport. For $25 you can build your own tasting plate with 2 x food vouchers, 1 x drink voucher and 1 x sweet voucher. Choose from delectable Nepalese dumplings, Japanese teriyaki bao’s, crispy Turkish boreks, sizzling Greek souvlaki and more. The vouchers are redeemable at all Masala Taste outlets, the Masala Nights Bar and the Masala Taste Sweet Shoppe.
Plus, each Singapore Airlines Food Passport gives you an opportunity to go in the draw to win two Premium Economy return tickets to anywhere in Asia or India/sub-continent, thanks to Singapore Airlines!
Long Table Brunch – I Will Eat With You | Sunday 17th March at 10:30am
This special event on Sunday brings together food, stories and community and reflects what is so special about Parramasala – the simple beauty of all people coming together.
Come along and enjoy sensory delights from the Masala World Food Markets stall holders, as well as entertainment from the World Dance Congress. With the Singapore Airlines Food Passport you can taste your way around Parramasala, sampling Nepalese dumplings, Japanese teriyaki bao’s, crispy Turkish boreks, sizzling Greek souvlaki and more. Everyone is welcome at the table.
Other Things to See and Do at Parramasala
There’s lots more taking place at Parramasala. Unfortunately due to the weather, the Masala World Movies by the river outdoor cinema has been cancelled.
6Live Music and Performances | Friday, Saturday and Sunday
The festival stage will be pumping out beats from around the world over the 3 days. The First Nations concert on Friday night is going to be a standout. And on Sunday the festival celebrates the female voice with performances by Pacific Women’s Voice, Laura Stephenson, Thando and Calypso. See the full awesome line up of artists here.
Parramasala Festival Planner
Here is the schedule of performances on the festival stage on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The schedule for the workshops is above.
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: