IMAGE: At the launch of Belfast Mela on board SS Nomadic in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, are (l-r) Daliya Khadir, Chelsea English and Dona Das Gupta from ArtsEkta’s South Asian Dance Academy.
Northern Ireland’s largest annual celebration of cultural diversity was recently launched in a wave of excitement, exotic aromas, dance, art and music on board SS Nomadic in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter recently.
Sponsors, performers, friends and supporters gathered for a colourful curtain raiser which gave an early glimpse of what will be happening when Mela fever descends on Botanic Gardens on Sunday, August. 24.
For the eighth year in succession, Belfast Mela will transform the city park into a unique global get-together, filled with music, dance, food, fashion, cuisine and crafts. The dazzling day of diversity is expected to attract more than 25,000 people to celebrate the great big beautiful world together, making this a highpoint of Northern Ireland’s social and cultural calendar as well as a significant tourist attraction.
Unveiling the 2014 programme, Nisha Tandon, Director of ArtsEkta, the organisation behind Belfast Mela, said, ‘We are delighted to be presenting a superb programme which features performances by some enormously creative international artists alongside contributions from culturally diverse communities from right across Northern Ireland. The resulting eclectic mix will see Botanic Gardens bursting into life with an amazing mix of sights, smells, sounds and sensations, revealing a wonderfully vibrant wealth and variety of culture in its many forms.”
Hosted by media partner UTV’s Julian Simmons and U105’s Carolyn Stewart, the Belfast Mela 2014 programme will open with a spectacular ‘Into The Wilderness’ themed procession transporting audiences through an exotic Safari wonderland as it weaves its way around Botanic Gardens. The community parade will be bigger than ever before, featuring specially commissioned carnival creations including a spectacular processional sculpture plus Chinese Dragon and Bollywood dancers, Indian dhol drums and brass music interspersed with 100s of community performers.
Within the gardens, stages will buzz with performances ranging from Bhangra to Brazilian jazz; from Cuban-African fusion to Celtic; from Bulgarian to Ulster Scots …and that’s just for starters! Féile An Droichead will provide high octane entertainment in the Irish tradition, while the Global Souk will reveal a world of craft and chic shopping and the World Food Market will offer a taste of global cuisines. The elegantly secluded Maharaja Tent will house intimate performance of classical Indian music and dance while, new for 2014, will be a specially created Fantasy Forest filled with nature-inspired workshops delivered by visual artists, craftspeople, dancers, musicians and story-tellers.
Nisha says, “Visitors to Belfast Mela can expect to step into a whole new world, teaming with entertainment and buzzing with atmosphere and with a programme that’s so packed and varied it will provide enjoyment and stimulation for everyone for the entire day as well as providing a unique cultural learning experience in the spirit of shared celebration.”
The event will run in Botanic Gardens, Belfast from 12noon – 6pm on Sunday , August 24, 2014. On the day tickets are £5 for Adults, £4 for Concessions or £15 for Families. Canny festival-goers can steal a march on the queues and secure discounts by booking online at www.belfastmela.com, with tickets priced at £4 for Adults, £3 for Concessions and £12 for Families.