LONDON – Music, food and Pinoy culture drew Filipinos together at the 35th anniversary of the London Barrio Fiesta held at Apps Court Surrey on July 20 and 21.
The event has attracted not just Filipinos from the United Kingdom but also from other parts of Europe and even outside the continent as well like Christian Joseph, a visitor from the US.
“It’s really great to see the Filipino culture here in London. It means I get to experience the other side of the culture that I never get the chance to see in the States,” said Joseph.
In partnership with The Filipino Channel, this year’s event was presented with a twist. On the first day, dubbed as Filipino “Beats and Bites,” the best and the brightest upcoming and celebrated local and Kapamilya artists collaborated for a powerhouse show that also appealed to the audiences outside the Filipino community, with a diverse mix of popular local and OPM songs.
The performers included, Angelou Mae, Andreah, Chloe Ragrag, Clarissa Mae, Lailana, Josh, Tara Flanagan, Bailey May, MC Zani, Clencha, Inigo Pascual and KZ Tandingan.
“Being part of the local artists, we are a new generation we are really trying to show something new. So I hope we can showcase that today,” said Lailana Shouly.
“It’s incredible music and the food is insane. Just the whole atmosphere is great,” said pop artist Flanagan.
For the young Ragrag cousins and performers, Clarissa and Chloe, it was an honor to continue a family tradition of performing at the Barrio Fiesta.
“My dad used to do it, her dad and now that we get to do it. It’s so fun,” said Chloe Ragrag.
“Barrio Fiesta really brings everyone together, especially the Filipino community,” added Clarissa Mae.
Filipino-Jamaican rapper and BBC presenter Clencha performed on the first day and also hosted the event. For him, being part of the yearly event is a way of giving back to the community.
“I call myself a Filimaican. I’m absolutely proud to represent Filipino culture because it represents who I am as a person, as a rapper. The Love in our community is such a beautiful thing,” said Clencha.
The two-day event was also a gathering of the biggest names in the Filipino food business, like BBQ Dreams, Romulo Café and Mamasons and many more. They curated food and delicacies representing various regions in the Philippines.
“We decided to be in the Barrio Fiesta this year because we want to make a contribution to raising the profile of the Filipino cuisine in the UK. So where else would you be but in Barrio Fiesta,” said Rowena Romulo, owner of Romulo Cafe.
“We have been successful in promoting outside of the Filipino network but we want also to be part of this experience of this Barrio Fiesta. We are a Filipino brand after all. It’s a tradition,” said Omar Shah, owner of Mamasons.
On the second day, more crowds descended on Apps Court Farm for more of the two-day merrymaking, Philippine traditions and performances by Ogie Alcasid, Zanjoe Marudo, Pia Wurtzbach and Anne Curtis. It was hosted by MC.
“You have people travelling hours and hours away to be able to get together, spend time with the Filipino community. Eat good Filipino food prepared at fiestas, like this. It’s important to have gatherings like this, because you get homesick living away from home,” said Curtis of the Barrio Fiesta.