Tag Archives: maidastone

Maidstone Mela Returns for 13th Year!

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.

Poster 4x4    Poster Anaconda

Poster Imminent   Poster Kerela

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