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Town Gardens and The Bowl:
   
 
Old Town Victorian park and open-air concert venue...

Address: Springfield Road, Old Town, Swindon
Phone: 01793 490150
Website: http://www.swindon.gov.uk...
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The Reggae Garden Festival 2016

Our Swindon mum about town, Kelly Jobanputra, checked out the positive beats, top live acts and delicious soul food on offer at The Bowl

Old Town Bowl, Swindon
Saturday 10 September 2016
12.00pm - 9.00pm
 
Having experienced 'The Reggae Garden Family Festival' for the first time last Saturday, I am definitely certain that I will be going back annually from now on.
 
Only next time, I will make sure I take as many mates as I can muster because I feel like I need to help spread the word that this fantastic event brings brilliant entertainment to Swindon's doorstep.
 
Reggae Garden Festival Swindon
 
Reggae Garden Festival Swindon

The vibe at this all day festival, which started at 12 noon and went on until 9pm, was so welcoming that everyone was drawn in from the very start. The music put a smile on everyone's face and it was great to see strangers chatting to each other as the day went on.

Yes, it rained for a while at the beginning but from late afternoon onwards the skies cleared and it was dry. But to be honest, when there is good music on offer hardcore gig goers will stay whatever the elements.

Zeeks was our host for the festival and he got everyone in the mood with his engaging stage presence and energy. At the end of each set he asked for extra applause for all of the acts, which were all of such a high performance calibre that I feel I need to make the point that we were truly lucky to have them all visiting our town.
 
 
 

The organisers of the Reggae Garden, which is now in its fifth year, must have worked their behinds off to get the event just right because everything had been thought of. There was face painting and a bouncy castle for children and delicious authentic food from Moshan Island Grill.

There was also relevant art work on display and the artist was at the event actually working on the pieces in front of the crowds.

Brother Culture & Uppercut Band did a fantastic version of 'True Colors' and their interaction with the crowd was on point. They said they were last in Swindon in the 80s and they had a great reaction when they said: "Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something."

A wonderful version of 'Sun is Shining' by the late, great Bob Marley was performed by the Friendly Fire Band featuring Tomlin Mystic on vocals. The man himself would have been proud of this cover and at this point, a few people started dancing barefoot in the mud that had gathered in front of the stage.

He also got a very positive response when he spoke about the healing benefits of the cannabis plant. Before you judge, just goggle the subject.

Another performer that stood out to me was Askala Selassie, who performed with the Friendly Fire Band. This woman's voice was beautiful, strong and memorable. She was a member of Bob Marley and the Wailers and I would be very interested to hear her new album 'Warrior Empress'. Her version of 'Work' by Rhianna really got everyone going. She told us not be shy, to come closer to the stage, to feel the beat, and we listened.
 
 

Michael Prophet did not disappoint, being as great as we all expected. He kept the energy flowing throughout his fantastic set and nicely paved the way for the headliner of the night - Ras Demo (aka Demolition Man).

Now, I have never seen Ras Demo perform before despite my husband seeing him several times over the years. I really did not know what to expect but I was hooked by the end of his first track.

Everyone was on their feet, having an amazing time throughout the time he gave us and when he asked for us to interact, no one denied him. All eyes were on the main man and the fact that he came off the stage at the end to talk to fans just shows what a great, down to earth guy he really is.
 

There was a free after show party at the Vic in Old Town after the event finished (you just had to show your wristband) but being a parent to a little one meant I was content to go home when the Old Town Bowl action was over! The husband had other ideas....

People of Swindon, if you haven't been to this yearly event yet - you need to try it. Many people say we don't have a lot going on in the town but when you go to something like this, you realise how much we actually do have on offer to us.
 
Kelly Jobanputra
(Pictures by Vikesh Jobanputra)
 
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