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REAL Festival 2023

Bring a date or bring the kids because Penrith is hosting the ultimate all-ages festival — and it's all free.
By David Allegretti
August 24, 2023
By David Allegretti
August 24, 2023

in partnership with

Real Festival is returning to Penrith for 2023 and this year's offering promises to be one of the most enticing yet. Expect live entertainment, food trucks, markets, fun workshops, family activities and a festival bar — all set in the beautiful Tench Reserve by the Nepean River. 

Running from Friday, September 15, to Sunday, September 17, Real is the perfect way to welcome the arrival of spring with the fam, mates, or that special someone. Plus, with the cost of living rising ever higher (sorry I refuse to pay any more than $5 for a coffee), free festivals like Real are a welcome addition to the social calendar.

REAL Festival Penrith 2023

The festival takes full advantage of the riverside location, with kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, Nepean Belle cruises, dragon boat sessions, and even a jet-pack show over the water if you fancy a bit of second-hand adrenaline. Though do keep in mind these on-the-water activities are for the Sunday program only, so don't bother bringing your bathers on the Friday or Saturday (or do, we're not your parents).

As the sun sets, enjoy the Friday and Saturday exclusive night programming. Peruse the illuminated interactive art displays, let out your inner child at the neon-lit open-air arcade, or get in on more neon action at the "Silent DisGlow" or the "Roller Rink by Busways". And once you're tuckered out, take in some of the myriad live music and performances that will run throughout the festival.

REAL Festival Penrith 2023

Feeling crafty? Real will play host to a wide variety of workshops to suit all ages and interests, including kid's yoga, plant identification, hula hooping, weaving, instrument making, pot decorating, beaded jewellery creation, and even a whole "Circus Drop Zone" which will help you brush up on your trapeze, juggling, and unicycle skills (c'mon, you know you're rusty). And once you're done expanding your abilities, take a relaxing stroll through the eclectic range of artisan markets.

And of course, we cannot gloss over the most important aspect of any festival — the food. With a haul of options courtesy of more than 20 of Sydney's best food trucks, it's a tough ask to make a pick. Though you really can't go wrong with BBQ from Big Jay's Smokehouse, a crispy onion flower from Burger Head as a side, chased with a fresh Dutch Stroopwafel from Stroopbros — a goated combination if there ever was one. 


Real Festival will run from 4pm–10pm on Friday and Saturday, and from 10am–3pm on the Sunday. See you there.

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