If you haven’t experienced a Caribbean street party before, the Reggae Carnival Market Day event held in Marrickville this weekend would give you a pretty authentic experience - but without the expensive airfare!
From the minute we stepped off the streets of Sydney into the event, it felt like we had been transported to the Caribbean. We paid our $10 fee, turned the corner and immediately the
barbecue smoke and sweet aroma of Jerk Chicken filled our lungs and the boom of the reggae bass vibrated in our chests, bringing a big smile to our faces. The wheelchair friendly ramp that snaked down into the market area gave us a great view from the elevated vantage point to see the wide range of food and merchandise stalls laid out in a cosy formation around the stage and dance floor. The multicultural crowd milled around grooving to the beats or chatting over food and drinks. There was enough people to create an atmosphere but not too many as to make the relatively intimate area feel claustrophobic.
Traditional Caribbean food was on sale from a selection of vendors who
were cooking up a storm for hungry festival goers with all the accompanying atmospheric hustle, bustle, BBQ smoke and friendly banter. Tasty authentic jerk chicken and pork were served on a plate with the traditional rice’n’peas and coleslaw, or in a bread roll with a selection of Caribbean sauces. One of these; the Little Man Jerk sauce which is made locally in Sydney was being sold by the jar at a nearby stall, so festival goers could take it home and have a go at recreating the Caribbean flavours on their own barbies.
Other food stalls offered an alternative to Caribbean fare such as Nepalise, Turkish, Thai, Indian, organic coffee and churros for dessert.
Melodic reggae music played all day from the park’s bandstand which was a perfect spot for the DJ booth with the dance floor in front being the central point of the festival, fittingly as the music was the star of the event. The DJs kept the dance floor full and the crowd were a joy to watch as they grooved all afternoon to the relaxed vibes. An appearance from Jamaican singer Ras Daniel Ray topped off the day’s entertainment with a great set as the afternoon turned into night.
" A multicultural event with great music, a varied selection of food and merchandise stalls to browse as well as heaps of activities for the kids."
For those not keen to boogie, the many stalls were the perfect way to spend the day perusing and finding something to take home; from Caribbean and reggae themed t-shirts, hand made jewellery, clothes and a vinyl record fair held in the hall. You could even grab a massage for $15 get your hair put into dreadlocks! Kids were kept occupied with a bouncy castle, face painting and kids DJ and dance workshops.
Situated next door to the Sydney Portugal Community Club and Fraser Park Football Club, the location was well suited to the intimate festival. With a carpark right next to it and easy access by public transport, festival goers could choose to leave the car at home and enjoy the beer, cider and ale that was on tap at the 4 Pines Festival Bar. Sydenham train station was an easy 10 minute walk away.