The annual celebration of live music, dance, food, fashion, art and culture that is the Leicester Belgrave Mela took place this Sunday July 16th. The festival, which has now reached its 30th year, attracted thousands of people from across the city and county.
Spread across Humberstone Gate, Gallowtree Gate and Leicester Market the Mela offered revellers the opportunity to enjoy an authentic slice of South Asian culture.
Throughout the day Leicester Market was taken over by the Mela Bazaar which offered a diverse range of South Asian cuisine, jewellery, arts and crafts.
Geeta Patel who was visiting the Mela Bazaar with her family said:
“The Mela is a very special occasion for us. It’s a real family day out. We all come together to enjoy the great atmosphere, music and entertainment. I’ve brought some really nice gifts for my relatives and the kids have got involved in some of the craft workshops making greetings cards. I’m really glad the weather has held up.”
From midday audiences gathered at the Mela Entertainment Stage on Humberstone Gate to witness live performances from local community dance companies Kuntal’s School of Bollywood Dance and Nupur Arts.
Later in the afternoon onlookers enjoyed musical performances from an all star line-up including the Stranger Family featuring Mumzy Stranger, Junai Kaden, Tasha Tah, Char Avell & Ramee as well as Navin Kundra, Raghav & Avina Shah.
As well as offering a host entertainment and shopping delights The Mela also gave several charities and community groups the opportunity to reach out to the public.
Leicester East MP Keith Vaz was in attendance to lend his support for the Silver Star Appeal, a charity which raises awareness of diabetes, he said:
“The Leicester Mela is a great event for everyone. I think it’s wonderful that so many people are here to celebrate in this event. I’ve come along today to raise awareness of the problem of diabetes. As someone who suffers from diabetes I’m here to encourage others to visit our mobile diabetes unit and get themselves tested for the disease.”
Based on a traditional Indian Mela, meaning a ‘gathering’ or fair, the Belgrave Mela has continued to grow since its humble beginnings as the ‘Belgrave Carnival’ back in 1982. Outgrowing its former location of Cossington Park, the Mela moved onto the ‘Golden Mile’ area of the city before eventually relocating to Leicester City Centre in 2005. Rather than being a niche event the Leicester Belgrave Mela attracted visitors from all of the diverse communities and ethnic groups that make up multicultural Leicester.
This article first appeared on the Pukaar News website.