Fringe Talk Day Twenty-four

Global Rhythms - Sunday 24th September 

I wake up this morning a little earlier than I would like to, and my Sunday morning hangover is not being helped by this oppressive dry heat. But I have a feeling that it’s all gonna be worth it as I head out to Bicentennial Park for the Global Rhythms Festival.

I treat myself to a café breakfast with my girlfriend and leave her to work as I make my way by bus and tram to the spot.


In the park next door to the festival is a birthday party, a family enjoying free music that’s echoing across Rozelle Bay and into the park.

I go through the gate and Alphamama has already kicked things off. I walk through the festival grounds straight to the stage and enjoy her soulful vibes washing the morning grouchiness away.

In between sets the DJ plays afrobeats and I make a tour of the festival to get the lay of the land. There's a hookah bar in what looks like a medieval jousting tent. There’s a real eco bent to the festival too with solar powered compacting bins, the good people over from Reverse Garbage in attendance, and, to help support what is a plastic free event, there are special Aqua Bubblers. It’s a pretty planet friendly and eclectic mix. Groovy.

There’s also food stands galore with Paella, felafel and Egyptian street food. Yeah, apparently that’s a thing.

I see a group out from the Western Sydney Samba club in bright orange fedoras come over from the Venezuelan arepas stand with food in hand shaking their hips to the rhythm of agogos – sounds like San Lazaro has started playing their brand of original Latin music.

It’s a good time; cumbia and samba infused with funk guitar fusion. Next to me are families, aging rockabillies and hippies sprawled on sarongs and Persian carpets. A three legged dog ambles past and there are kids drawing on the sidewalk; one little tyke writing vote yes alongside a chalk rainbow. On ya kiddo!

I have a vision of my future self when I see a dad with a baby strapped to the front of his dadbod swaying side to side with a glass of Sauv Blanc in one hand. Before long I’ve fallen into a snooze under a Morton Bay Fig while legs weave their backwards and forwards Latin waltz around me like the lapping of the tide.

When I wake up someone is setting up a hang drum workshop next to me so I decide to get involved banging out some Caribbean sounding tines. It’s a fun and easy instrument to play.

Alice Terry is up next with glittery eyes and red hair, dressed in black. I see James Loughnan on sax. Hey mate! And Billie McCarthy makes another appearance. She’s been getting around this Fringe.

 The band is super tight playing head nodding delta blues. A little girl is standing in front of the stage bopping only the top half of her body erratically left to right, as two pot-bellied cops in moustaches nearby can't help but tap their toes to the swing bass.

Out in the bay I spy some more free loaders – a group of kayakers headed over from under the Anzac Bridge hovering near the east side radio tent enjoying the free music. Now that’s what I call pirate radio!

No? Sorry. The family friendly atmosphere has brought out my penchant for Dad jokes.

The day rolls on with a cracking tribute to one of my favs, Fela Kuti. Then King Tide bring some ska flavour until the Crooked Fiddle Band and their world music melange take us to the sunset. It’s been a day of family fun and good energy. I’m well and truly pooped but finishing the day in better spirits. I catch a bus back up the hill and out of Glebe cutting through the evening breeze.

And that’s a wrap for me! This is Max signing off from the Fringe. It’s been a great festival! Can’t wait for next year. Make sure you check out something in this final week before it’s all over.

[That's Max done for the Fringe. Swing back tomorrow when Eleni and James go head to head with Puntilla/Matti]


Written by Max Rapley