Maidstone has been hosting a celebration of culturally diverse music food and dance since 2003, with the sights, sounds, flavours, and traditions of the diverse local community coming together as part of the Maidstone Mela event.

For 2016, however, the event adopts smaller, more engaging look with a street mela in the heart of the town centre. The event which takes place on Sunday September 11 between 11.30am and 4pm has been organised by Maidstone Borough Council in partnership with Cohesion Plus with the support of Arts Council England. 

The street mela will feature exciting performances including the Four by Four Bhangra Dancers, Reel Eire Irish Dancers, Phase 5 Steel Band, Wolf’s Head Morris and Ronak Mela Brass Band and the Maidstone Nepalese Community Group. They will be joined by street food from around the world, street mime artists, stilt walkers, human statues and interactive arts workshops for young people. In addition Maidstone Borough Council will be running a consultation on the future direction of the Mela and other community events. The consultation will continue through to mid-October, and it will form the basis of a report to the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee later this year. 

Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus commented “I have been involved with the Mela since its inception in 2003. I am proud of what we have been able to achieve with the Mela in Maidstone and hope that the Mela can continue for many years to come as it’s a great way to bring all communities together and celebrate as one. I hope that the local community will come down into the town centre and enjoy the street festival we have created for this year with many exciting performers and contribute to the consultation.” 

“We’re excited to bring a ‘taster’ of this popular culturally diverse event to the streets of the town centre as part of our consultation process,” said Councillor David Pickett, chairman of Maidstone Borough Council’s Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee. “The idea to host a smaller event in the centre of Maidstone will help us re-energise future events. What’s more, it’s hoped that, by providing access to more people in the local area who may not have attended Maidstone Mela in the past, we’ll be able to engage a rich diversity of people and help deliver ever-more popular community events in the years to come. 

“It’s essential that the local community engagement is promoted in the best manner possible, so hosting this taster event for the full Maidstone Mela experience – and inviting attendees to provide