Friday, October 20, 2017
   
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Wealth of International Creativity at This Year's Mela

Turkish Airlines is again the lead sponsor for this year's Belfast Mela on Sunday, August 27, which is Northern Ireland’s largest annual celebration of diversity.

On the afternoon of Sunday, August 27 August Botanic Gardens will be the setting for the Belfast Mela festival of global identities, with an exotic, colourful – and joyously noisy - carnival parade launching the showcase of culture and cuisine from all four corners of the world.

Looking forward to drawing attendances of 30,000 plus the founder and Executive Director Nisha Tandon says the event has never been more important to the city and region it serves.

She says: “The Belfast Mela – the name originates from the Sakskrit word meaning ‘to meet’ – is a celebration of our continuing journey to become a truly shared and cosmopolitan society where communities come together harmoniously and with mutual respect. With recent events at home, and across the world, the significance of this has never been more important. As a society we should continue to forge new friendships, increase understanding of others and find strength in our community spirit.

“Those are serious and important concepts, but diversity is of course a cause for celebration. Belfast Mela combines craic, camaraderie and culture from around the world with a wonderful spirit of exuberance and, over the last decade, Belfast has truly taken the event to its heart. This year we’re looking forward to a people’s party in the park which will show the world just how far the city has come.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister, reinforced Council support for the annual event, saying: “Belfast is an open, inclusive, and welcoming place to live and do business. Many communities have made the city their home and we embrace the individuality of each citizen. The Mela builds on this warm welcome by encouraging understanding, developing intercultural relationships and promoting inclusion within the city.”

This year Belfast Mela celebrations will begin with an early ‘extra’ at The MAC, Belfast on Friday, August 25 when acclaimed Sufi singer Salam Sabri will present an evening of Indian Qawwali music – a form of Sufi devotional music dating back over 700 years and still popular across the Indian Sub-Continent.

The main Mela stage will feature a packed programme of music, dance, arts and performance entertaining easy-going crowds gathered on a lawn which will be encircled by marquees offering everything from henna hand painting and ethnic retail to aromatic and exotic food and drink and featuring acclaimed personality chef, the Urban Rajah, in The Mela taste Theatre.

Headline acts will include the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers bringing the huge reverberating beats of Japan to the park, while the famously energetic Dhol Foundation will keep the grounds and the crowds rocking with its mastery of the traditional Punjabi dhal drums.

For bookings and full details of the world class line up at Belfast Mela 2017 visit belfastmela.org.uk.

Pictured with performers Maytee Segura and Wei Hong are Julieann Curran, Onur Gul and Onur Basak from Turkish Airlines, lead sponsors of this year’s Belfast Mela Festival.

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