Plans for the London Mela 2005, a major one-day festival celebrating the creativity and culture of Asian communities, were launched at an event at City Hall, which was attended by London politicians, community representatives and business leaders.
The London Mela 2005, which last year attracted 75,000 people, will take place in Gunnersbury Park, London W3 on Sunday 14 August. Building on the success of previous years, the event will feature an eclectic programme of classical music, dance, visual arts, circus and street theatre across 12 zones and five stages. The London Mela 2005 will feature international artists and include UK and London premieres.
Mayor Ken Livingstone, who is supporting the London Mela for the third year, said: 'The London Mela has become one of the capital's cultural highlights of the summer and is a family-friendly event for all communities. The range of live performances and activities means that there is something for everyone to enjoy. I hope many more Londoners and visitors will join the tens of thousands who came and enjoyed last year's festival.'
Performers confirmed for the main stage include Bollywood legend Usha Uthup and her big band, and up-and-coming girl band, Rouge. The Dum Dum Project, an international DJ collective from New York, Thailand and London has also confirmed it will be performing in the UK for the first time. London premieres include the exhibitions, From Soho Road to the Punjab, which traces the history of Bhangra, and Women @ Work, a chronicle of working women in Pakistan.
The London Mela 2005 will also welcome back London Flavas, hosted by Radio 1's Bobby and Nihal, and featuring the best of urban British Asian music. Produced by Ealing Council and hosted jointly with Hounslow Council, the festival will also include the Cabaret Mela presenting circus, comedy, acoustic music and dance; Magic Mela where Save the Children will encourage everybody to paint, scribble and draw on MELAWALL; Classic Mela; and the Community Stage.
Ajay Chhabra, London Mela Artistic Director, Ealing Council said: 'This year’s programme is an eclectic mix of artists from the UK and overseas that builds on the success of previous years. Showcasing the best of music, dance and performance, and combining classical with urban, street theatre with poets, produces a very special landmark event for London.'
Cllr John Cudmore, Leader of Ealing Council, said: 'The London Mela is a well established showcase for south Asian culture in West London and the fact that it has been so successful is an indication of the strength of culture in the area. We are very happy for Hounslow to host the Mela this year and that it has taken just two years for the event to become such an important part of the summer events programme in London. I have heard a huge amount of praise for the Mela from local people indicating what a success it has been and we are very proud of the part that Ealing has played in this.'
The Leader of Hounslow Council, Colin Ellar said: 'I'm delighted for the London Borough of Hounslow to again host the Mela in Gunnersbury Park. The London Mela is a lively and enjoyable event that offers something for everyone, including the opportunity to experience the diverse cultures of West London. People from all over the capital will feel at home and be made very welcome at this annual event.'
Notes to Editors
1. The London Mela will take place in Gunnersbury Park, Popes Lane, W3 on Sunday 14 August 2005 from 12 noon until 8pm. Nearest underground is Acton Town. The park, jointly managed by the London boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow, is one of the largest green spaces in west London.
2. The London Mela is an artistically led festival presenting art forms inspired by the arts of the Indian subcontinent and the South Asian Diaspora. Melas originate in the Indian sub-continent and are held throughout South Asia: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. The word comes from the Sanskrit to meet, and is commonly used to describe a large gathering of people celebrating artistic, religious or political events.
3. Supporters of the London Mela 2005 include Sunrise Radio, Sony TV Asia, Natco, Supermalt, Western Union and the British Army. The launch reception is supported by Waitrose. For further information about sponsorship opportunities contact Harbinder Singh on 07795 095 037, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. The London Mela is part of the Ealing Summer programme, which runs from 17 July to 15 August. For more information contact the team at Ealing: Sinclair Eiloart on 020 8825 5744. Marketing and publicity enquiries to Rasheed Rahman 020 8825 8332
5. 13.2% of London's population is Asian [2001 census], making up more than one in eight Londoners. The London Borough of Ealing has one of the largest Asian communities in London (24% - 73,851). Hounslow has 24.7%, Brent has 27.8% and Harrow has 29.7% of its population as Asian- all neighbours of Ealing.