Report from the fiesta in aid of Cowley Road Carnival
By Faith Oyegun
BBC Oxford contributor
On the 3 and 4 July, 2010 The Cowley Road Carnival was to some extent overshadowed by its neighbour, The Cornbury Festival in North Oxfordshire.
But while the bigger event got underway on Saturday, South Parks in Oxford simultaneously became the birthplace of Fiesta in the Park.
This was a new fundraising concert to secure the free Cowley Road Carnival Sunday event for future years.
Playing were a range of local and international world music artists.
Nestled within the classical and picturesque surroundings of Oxford, South Parks is in the heart of the city, sitting tightly adjacent to the colourful and eclectic Cowley area.
Yes, we all know Cornbury is wonderful and it secures fantastic top level acts, but for those of you who would rather swap their countryside camping for the ease of the City Centre there is now an alternative.
Not only was Fiesta in the Park easily accessible, it welcomed local music talent hand in hand with world music.
It swaps Cornbury's pies and champagne for a beautifully odd mix of Cotswold lagers and jerk chicken.
On entering the park it is easy to become lured by the aromatic scents arriving from the array of food stalls, ranging from West to East with everything from Caribbean food to Thai curries which can then be washed down with some Pimms from local Cowley pub 'The Rusty Bicycle's stall.
Kanda Bongo Man was once championed by John Peel
It was an event for everyone and judging by the diverse cross section of people who attended, that welcome was well received - families with young children, teenagers and students, elderly couples, young professionals, veteran festival goers and a real mix of nationalities.
If the aromas of the food didn't tempt you, the sounds from the music stage would certainly attract your attention, and the tunes offered similar levels of diversity. I managed to catch up with a 12-piece roots reggae band Makating from Oxford.
It was an amazing and visually exciting ensemble performance (who needs fancy lasers and projections ? Get a dozen people on stage!) as coordinating an hour long set with 12 band members could not have been an easy feat as I found out as I desperately tried to herd all of them together for an interview afterwards.
Other acts to note included Kanda Bongo Man who was championed by John Peel. I must agree with the famous quote that if his music "doesn't make you want to get up and dance, call an ambulance; you must be dead".
Mentions must also go to DJ Count Skylarkin and the Brickwork Lizards - fantastic acts from Oxford.
Overall, a beautiful day and evening that more than complemented the Carnival the following day.
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