Maidstone Mela launches with schools parade

In preparation for the Mela, to be held over two days in September, the young pupils will be parading through Maidstone town centre to celebrate the start of the Mela. This year the Maidstone Mela, which celebrates diversity through music, food and dance, promises to top last year’s popularity and be bigger and better than before.

Cabinet Member for Community Services, Cllr John A. Wilson, said: “The Mela is an important part of Maidstone’s culture. This year’s parade will see scores of children showcasing their art work through the town and will be a taste of what September 11 and 12 will bring. It’s a great example of people working together to bring communities together.”

The Mela is organised in partnership by Maidstone Borough Council, the Kent Equality Cohesion Council and Cohesion Plus. This year it will take place in Mote Park on September 11 from 5pm to 9.15pm and September 12 between 12pm and 6pm.

At the launch of the Mela, which takes place on July 14, there will be a colourful parade with pupils from St Michaels CE Junior, Archbishop Courtenay, St Francis, Hollingbourne Primary, South Borough and West Borough taking part.

The parade will be led by the Four by Four Bhangra dhol drummers, Bloco Fogo Samba and Uzambezi African Drummers.. It will start outside Marks & Spencer in Week Street at 10.30am. The celebrations will then lead down Fremlin Walk before reaching Brenchley Gardens for a flag raising ceremony.

Since 2003, the Mela has attracted thousands of people each year to Mote Park, where they have enjoyed performances of music and dance from around the world.

Gurvinder Sandher, Director of Cohesion Plus, said: “I am really pleased with how the Maidstone Mela has developed. The Mela has evolved from a one-day celebration of music, food and dance to one which celebrates the diversity of Maidstone over several months.

“The launch is an excellent example of how young people are now involved and this year’s launch will be the biggest to date. I believe the work we are doing in Maidstone is a beacon for other parts of the country and is an excellent example of how the arts can be used to promote community cohesion.”

For further information visit  www.cohesionplus.com