Here are some photo highlights from the Maidstone Mela 2009. The photos were taken at the event by Chris Brunt. Click on the thumbnails to view them.
More than 10,000 people attended the 2009 Maidstone Mela, which celebrated the diversity of the borough through music, food and dance. The Mela was organised in partnership by Maidstone Borough Council and North West Kent Racial Equality Council.
As well as exciting acts on stage, there were more than 60 stalls ranging from diverse local community organisations such as the Finnish Community Association, Congo Action, Voluntary Action Maidstone and Dawn Patrol Rotary Club to public sector agencies such as Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue, the Environment Agency and HM Prison Service, as well as a special Maidstone Borough Council information village.
The previous Mayor Elect of Maidstone, Morel D’Souza, himself Goan, is married to Karin who is from Finland, and they were both promoting diversity of cultures as part of the Finish Community Association, present at the Mela.
For children there was a range of fairground attractions and activities such as dhol drumming workshops, which proved to be very popular.
One of the great things at a mela that brings people together is food. And the food stalls at the Maidstone Mela were a big hit with dishes from Finland, Britain, India, China, Poland, Thailand and Greece.
The 7th Maidstone Mela proved to be a great success. For the first time with the help of funding form Arts Council England the Mela took place over 2 days.
The Mela Night featured Bhangra Star Jassi Sidhu who performed with his full live band. He wooed the crowd with a string of his hits from over the last decade. Although the majority of the crowd would not have understood the lyrics Jassi managed to create a positive interaction with them and by the end many of them were dancing along to the bhangra beat.
Jassi was followed on stage by Mercury a Queen Tribute Band who proved to be as equally popular. In addition to the live performances plus there was an amazing light installation by Emergency Exit Arts which had been commissioned by Cohesion Plus.