'Mela fever' to descend on Belfast

Published Wednesday, 06 August 2014
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More than 25,000 people from across Northern Ireland are expected to attend this year's Belfast Mela, which was officially launched on Wednesday.

Northern Ireland's largest annual celebration of cultural diversity will take over the Botanic Gardens in Belfast on Sunday 24 August for a unique day filled with music, dance, food, fashion, cuisine and crafts.

Unveiling the 2014 programme at the SS Nomadic in Belfast, Nisha Tandon, Director of ArtsEkta, said: 'We are delighted to be presenting a superb programme which features performances by some enormously creative international artists alongside contributions from culturally diverse communities from right across Northern Ireland.

"The resulting eclectic mix will see Botanic Gardens bursting into life with an amazing mix of sights, smells, sounds and sensations, revealing a wonderfully vibrant wealth and variety of culture in its many forms."

Now in its eight year, the 2014 Belfast Mela will open with a spectacular 'Into The Wilderness' themed procession through Botanic Gardens.

The community parade will feature specially commissioned carnival creations including a processional sculpture plus Chinese Dragon and Bollywood dancers, Indian dhol drums and brass music interspersed with 100s of community performers.

Within the gardens, various stages will host special cultural performances ranging from Bhangra, Brazilian jazz, Cuban-African, Celtic and Ulster Scots.

We can all be proud that Belfast is so firmly at the forefront with an event which continues to grow in stature, reputation and scale.

Dr M Satish Kumar, ArtsEkta Chairman

Elsewhere, the World Food Market will offer a taste of global cuisines, while the secluded Maharaja Tent will house intimate performances of classical Indian music and dance.

New to the Belfast Mela programme this year will be a specially created Fantasy Forest filled with nature-inspired workshops delivered by visual artists, craftspeople, dancers, musicians and story-tellers.

Ms Tandon continued: "Visitors to Belfast Mela can expect to step into a whole new world, teaming with entertainment and buzzing with atmosphere and with a programme that's so packed and varied it will provide enjoyment and stimulation for everyone for the entire day as well as providing a unique cultural learning experience in the spirit of shared celebration."

ArtsEkta Chairman, Dr M Satish Kumar, added: "While we have increased popularity and profile over the years, we have always remained true to our original vision of providing a platform for minority ethnic groups living here to express their identities and showcase and share their cultures with pride."

The Belfast Mela will run in Botanic Gardens, Belfast from 12noon - 6pm on Sunday 24th August 2014.

On the day tickets are priced at £5 for adults, £4 for concessions or £15 for families or you can book online at belfastmela.org.uk.

© UTV News
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