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Reggae festival charms families
Buy this photo » Macka B and the Roots Ragga Band perform at the Reggae Garden Festival
RASTA vibes got the crowds dancing – and even seemed to keep the bad weather at bay – at the Reggae Garden family festival.
More than a thousand revellers turned out at the Old Town Bowl on Saturday to enjoy the third year of the Jamaican-themed party.
Fans tucked into jerk chicken and fish while children enjoyed a bouncy castle, face-painting, arts and crafts and T-shirt design.
Kelly Newman, 35, an administrator from Old Town, was with a group of 20 family and friends including her sons Lewis, nine, and Liam, six.
“The festival is a nice, family event and a chance to celebrate reggae music,” Ms Newman said.
“It’s good for children to eat a bit of Caribbean food and experience a different culture.
“People have misconceptions about reggae but there’s been no trouble here at all and it’s just a friendly, welcoming atmosphere in beautiful surroundings.”
The festival was a poignant occasion for the family of Mickey Titcombe – known as Mickey T – who died of natural causes two months after last year’s event, after which he had told the Adver how much he had enjoyed celebrating the music he had listened to for 40 years.
His son Ritchie waved the same tall Bob Marley flag that the Titcombes raised in 2012 and relatives wore ‘Peace, Love and Unity’ T-shirts bearing Mickey’s picture.
Daughter Mechelle, 32, from Highworth, said: “Mickey T was well-known around Swindon as the white Rasta, he loved reggae and we have had so many people come up to us and say they remembered him from last year.
"To listen to the music in his memory was just amazing.”
Oriana Tajardo, 34, originally from Seville in Spain but living in the town centre, also enjoyed the uplifting music of live acts including Solo Banton and Murray Man. Ms Tajardo, a health and safety worker, said: “The reggae philosophy is about enjoying life and being with your friends and family. From the moment I arrived here I felt it was a friendly atmosphere where you can speak to anyone.”
Fine weather persisted throughout the day before veteran British reggae star Macka B closed the festival as darkness fell.
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