Despite the poor weather thousands attended the 13th Maidstone Mela in Mote Park. The Mela has since its inception has been held on the second Sunday of September and has attracted a huge following and this year was no exception. The event was organised by Maidstone Borough Council in partnership with Cohesion Plus, Mela Steering Group and Kent Equality Cohesion Council.
The free festival celebrates the diversity of the borough through music, food and dance and provided an excellent showcase not just for artists performing on the stage but also for stall holders including food outlets, local charities and community groups.
The stage programme ran from 12.30pm to 6.30pm and was officially opened by the Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Daniel Moriarty and included a range of culturally diverse acts including popular local band The Choos, Kitka a Bulgarian Folk Dance Troupe who went into the audience and got them to join in with their routine and the Kerala Cultural Association who performed some popular South Indian Dance. They were followed by the award winning Reel Eire Irish dance troupe, drama group GDS who previewed their forthcoming show at the Hazlitt Theatre and Anaconda who performed a series of traditional belly dances.
In the second half of the programme local vocal trio Imminent again proved to be a hit. There was some further Eastern European flavour with the popular Polish folk group Piwnica pod Aniolami (Cellar under the Angels) performing, before the Maidstone Nepalese Community Group took to the stage to perform a number of traditional dances. The colourful and energetic Four by Four Bhangra Group had everyone up and dancing and copying their bhangra moves before the Mela was finished by the Trenchtown Experience who performed the hits of reggae legend Bob Marley and had the audiences singing along to his popular hits.
In addition to the stage programme there was over 50 stalls ranging from food from around the world to local charity and information stands as well as interactive arts workshops.
Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus commented “I am very pleased that working in partnership with Maidstone Borough Council that we were able to deliver another excellent Mela. I was delighted to see so many people come out in the poor weather to enjoy what has become one of the largest culturally diverse celebrations in Kent. Great credit needs to be given not only to Maidstone Borough Council but all the volunteers who have helped make the Mela the success it has become today. When we started all those years ago we could never imagine how big the Mela would become in Maidstone. “
The popular Maidstone Mela – one of the largest Melas in the South East – will return to Mote Park for its 13th year on Sunday 13 September. The free festival is a celebration of the borough’s cultural diversity and local talent, with food, music and dance from around the world. Entertainment starts at 12:30pm, with the final act finishing at 6:30pm.
Exciting culturally diverse artists performing at the Mela include local band The Choos, Bulgarian Folk Dance Group Kitka, Dancers from the Kerala Cultural Association, popular Irish group Real Eire Dance, drama group GDS Productions, and Anaconda an award winning belly dance troupe specialising in Egyptian, Bolly, Romany, Tribal and Fusion. They will be joined by up and coming local trio Imminent, Piwnica pod Aniolami (Cellar under the Angels), an exciting Polish folk group who will bring a flavour of Eastern Europe to the Mela, the Maidstone Nepalese Community Group who have supported and performed at every Mela since its inception and the colourful and dynamic Four by Four Bhangra Dancers. Headlining the stage will be The Trenchtown Experience, an 8 piece band dedicated to the music of reggae legend Bob Marley.
In addition to the stage programme, visitors can try food from across the globe, explore craft and clothing stalls, and find out more about local charities and community groups to get involved with.
Councillor Gordon Newton, Chairman of Maidstone council’s Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee, said: “The Maidstone Mela is a fantastic celebration of Maidstone’s cultural diversity, and it’s an event that the council is very proud to be involved with. This year’s event promises to be a wonderful day, and I encourage everyone to get involved with everything on offer – dance to the music, taste something you’ve never tried before, and enjoy the exciting atmosphere!”
Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus commented “I am proud that we have been involved with every Mela since it started. I could never have envisaged all those years ago that the Mela would have grown like it has. We are very pleased with the culturally diverse stage programme we have with the majority of the acts from and around Maidstone, and we hope the local community will come out as it has in previous years to support this fantastic showcase of culturally diverse arts and food. Much credit needs to be given to Maidstone Borough Council for their ongoing support for the Mela.”
The event has been organised by Maidstone Borough Council in partnership with Cohesion Plus and Kent Equality Cohesion Council.
The Maidstone Mela will be taking place on September 13 at Mote Park between 12.30 and 6.30pm.
There is an exciting stage programme featuring a range of culturally diverse artists including Bulgarian Folk Group Kitka, Kerala Cultural Association, Real Eire Irish Dance, Piwnica Polish Cabaret, Maidstone Nepalese Community Group, Four by Four Bhangra Group and Bob Marley Tribute the Trenchtown Experience.
There will also be a wide array of stalls and stands including the principal Mela sponsor Mid Kent College, as well food from around the World.
For further information on stalls please contact Liz Flynn on firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the stage programme please contact Gurvinder Sandher on email@example.com
See some wonderful footage of the 12th Maidstone Mela which captured the colour, fun and artistic quality. The Mela was organised in partnership by Cohesion Plus, Maidstone Borough Council, Kent Equality Cohesion Council, Maidstone Mela Advisory Group with the support of Arts Council England.
Cohesion Plus working in partnership with Maidstone Borough Council and the Maidstone Mela Advisory Group are pleased to announce final details for the 12th Maidstone Mela.
Friday September 12th will see the Mela Carnival Parade which will feature 7 local schools and some 400 children. The Carnival Parade will start outside County Hall at 1.35pm go along Week Street into Fremlin Walk before going back via Week Street finishing in Brenchley Gardens just after 2pm. This replaces the route which was previously published.
The focus will then turn to Mote Park on Sunday September 14 where there is an exciting stage programme for the Mela between 12.30pm and 7pm with a range of culturally diverse artists performing including the Cohesion Plus produced “Afro-Bhangra Fusion” piece featuring Four by Four Bhangra and Uzambezi Arts, Kitka Bulgarian Folk Dance Group, Bollywood Blast, Gypsy Stars and the Mela will be headlined by the award winning Ruby Turner. In addition there will over 50 stalls including food from around the world and information stands provided by public and voluntary sector partners.
Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of the Mela commented “We are very excited by the programme that we have developed for the Mela this year. The Carnival Parade will have a fresh new look to it this year including a number of exiting culturally diverse artists and a new route, while the celebrations on the Sunday include a top quality stage programme which will be headlined by the legendary soul star Ruby Turner and the Cohesion Plus produced Afro-Bhangra Fusion. We are very grateful to the support provided by Arts Council England and Maidstone Borough Council for allowing us to explore and further develop the artistic content of the Mela.”
The Maidstone Mela will this year be headlined by One of UK’s finest Soul, R&B. Jazz, Reggae and Gospel Singers Ruby Turner who has released 14 albums with number ones in the UK and USA as well as appearing on releases by the likes of Mick Jagger, UB40 and Brian Ferry. In recent years she has performed regularly with Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Band.
Other exiting performances include the Cohesion Plus produced “Afro-Bhangra” Fusion which will be performed by Four by Four Bhangra and Uzambezi Arts, popular local comedy duo Danny and Dan, the excellent Phase 5 Steel Band, emerging vocal trio Imminent and the internationally renowned Gypsy Stars who originate from Poland. Other local acts performing include the Kerala Cultural Association, Maidstone Nepalese Community Group, Real Eire Dance and Bollywood Blast.
Gurvinder Sandher Artistic Director for the Mela commented “I am very pleased with the breadth of stage acts we have for this year’s Mela. We have everything from Calypso, Bollywood, Irish Dance to traditional Nepalese and Roma music and dance to contemporary Comedy. I am confident the newly commissioned Afro-Bhangra Fusion will prove to be popular and what a great treat for those in attendance to see the legendary Ruby Turner performing live at the Mela. As ever I appreciate the on-going support of all our partners most notably Maidstone Borough Council and Arts Council England for allowing us to develop such an exciting stage programme.”
The Mela celebrations will be officially launched on Friday September 12 when the Maidstone Mela Carnival will take place. Involving 8 local schools and over 400 children the Carnival will start outside County Hall at 1.35pm go along Week Street into Fremlin Walk before finishing on Jubilee Square just after 2pm. In addition to the children who will be showcasing visual art pieces which they will create in workshops which will be delivered by arts company Same Sky there will be a range of culturally diverse musicians including the Four by Four Dhol Drummers and Bloco Fogo Samba Group.
The Carnival is being delivered as part of a creative arts project being delivered by Cohesion Plus which is funded by Arts Council England across Gravesham, Dartford, Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge Malling titled “Kent Mela Festival Project 2014”
For further information please contact Gurvinder Sandher on 01474 369329
The 11th Maidstone Mela despite the poor weather again proved to be great success. Organised in partnership by Cohesion Plus, Maidstone Borough Council, Kent Equality Cohesion Council and Maidstone Mela Advisory Group the event this year was held over 2 days with Mela Friday taking place in the Town Centre and Mela Sunday in Mote Park.
Mela Friday featured 9 local schools and over 500 school children who take part in a parade which started outside County Hall and went through Maidstone Town Centre before finishing on Jubilee Square. The children were accompanied by Bloco Fogo Samba, Four by Four Dhol Drummers, Lucky Moyo African Drummers and the Maidstone Grammar Girls Samba.
Once on Jubilee Square there were a range of performances including local comedy act Danny and Dan, Maidstone Trio Imminent and the ever popular Emerald Steel Band.
The Mela then moved to Mote Park on Sunday where around 10,000 people came during the day defying the rain and overcast afternoon. They were able to enjoy a full stage programme which showcased outstanding culturally diverse talent much of which was from Kent. Particular highlights included the Maidstone based Bollywood Blast, the Maidstone Nepalese Community Group, Harmony, the ever popular Four by Four Bhangra, rising RnB Star J Sol, emerging bhangra stars Benny Dhaliwal and Raju Dinehwala. The Mela was brought to a climax by Badness a popular Madness Tribute Group. In addition to the stage programme there were around 50 stalls many of which were selling food and drink from around the World.
Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director for the Mela commented “I was again very pleased with how the support shown to the Mela by the local community. Events like this take a lot of planning and hard work, but that is all worthwhile if the community enjoy it. The feedback I have received both on Friday and today has been positive, the schools parade on Friday was our biggest to date and brought the Town Centre to a standstill while the stage programme on the Sunday was our most ambitious so far and held the audience throughout the day despite the poor weather. Great credit to Maidstone Borough Council and Arts Council England for their continued support for the Mela and all the local community groups who worked with us in the build-up.”
Maidstone council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services, Councillor John A. Wilson, said “What a fantastic event! The Mela was a great chance for us to celebrate Maidstone’s cultural diversity, and I was delighted to see that a bit of rain didn’t put people off! Congratulations to everyone involved in planning and delivering yet another successful Mela.”
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