Festival of World Cultures
Belfast Mela (the word comes from the Sanskrit for ‘meeting’ or ‘uniting’) was launched in 2007 by the critically acclaimed and pioneering ArtsEkta organisation in a bid to showcase and celebrate Northern Ireland’s increasing cultural diversity. Today the project has grown beyond all original expectations and Belfast Mela is not only celebrating world diversity but is taking its place as one of the province’s hottest, fastest growing tourist attractions.
The Mela returns to Botanic Gardens on the 24th August 2014 from 12pm-6pm for the eight year of world music, dance, food, fashion and fun!
Please visit out dedicated festival website for more information and to book tickets by clicking the link on the right.
What's happening in 2014?
Headlining the Mela’s World Stage will be Malkit Singh with his live band. Hailed as the ‘King of Bhangra,’ Malkit Singh is one of the few Punjabi icons around in today’s Bhangra industry. They will be joined by an array of live world music and dance including Cuban beats from Son Yambu, rousing gospel music from Discovery Gospel Choir, energetic dhol drumming from Virtue Dholis and Bollywood beautifulness from Rafquat Ali Khan & The Bollywood Brass Band over three live stages.There will also be special local showcases from the Ulster Youth Choir and Celtic arts, music and language festival Feile an Droichead.
This year, audiences will be invited to dive into the wilderness with our opening procession of cultures transporting audiences into an exotic Safari wonderland as it weaves its way through Botanic Gardens. Led by the Lord Mayor of Belfast and other special guests, the carnival procession will be bigger than ever with commissioned carnival creations, lively dhol drumming and brass music, Bollywood dancers,hundreds of community participants, a 16ft long Chinese dragon, spectacular processional sculpture and an extraordinary life size elephant!
The procession will lead into The Fantasy Forest tucked away in the tropical scenery of Botanic. This is a brand new children’s arts experience featuring a diverse programme of interactive nature-inspired creative arts workshops, delivered by visual artists, craftspeople, dancers, musicians and storytellers. London-based theatre group Les Enfants Terribles will excite and entertain little ones with a mysterious, magical and magnificent naturespotting journey across the world, packed with Vaudeville acts, live musicians and puppeteers.
Other highlights of the programme include contemporary dance production Jugni (meaning ‘Female Firefly’) which portrays an illumination of personal stories through intricate play of movement, rhythm and rhyme contributed by women from all over the UK. Meanwhile east meets west with Fusion Dreams taking audiences on a journey across multiple musical genres with divine harmonies and dazzling rhythms.
Of course all of the best loved aspects of the festival are still in place including a world food market, a showcase area featuring local artistic talent, an Asian fashion bazaar, street arts shows and a health and well-being area
With a variety of treats in every corner of Botanic Gardens, the Belfast Mela is a perfect way to round off your summer in the city, and we encourage you all to come and celebrate what makes Belfast such a vibrant, cosmopolitan, and culturally diverse city to live in.To find our more visit www.belfastmela.org.uk