Celebrating Mela Festivals around the UK

Celebrating Mela Festivals around the UK

mela (ˈmiːlə; ˈmɛlə), 1. an Asian cultural or religious fair or festival.
At this time of the year there is always lots of attention and coverage of the many great lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) events that take place around the UK. What you may not have come across yet is the many amazing Mela Festivals that brighten up our towns and cities every year. The events are a celebration of Asian culture and offer a great opportunity for our diverse communities to come together and learn more about our traditions and cultures. The larger melas tend to be in areas with larger ethnic minority populations, but many melas are held in communities with small South Asian diasporas. Community ownership of these melas is important to the south Asian communities who see them as opportunities to share their cultural heritage with the mainstream. Will you be attending or supporting any Mela events?

Melas are for everyone.

Manchester Mega Mela

Manchester Mega Mela

25th and 26th July, Platt Fields Park, Rusholme, 12 – 9pm (Both days)

Manchester Mega Mela is the largest celebration of South Asian Culture in the North of England. Music, dance, food and traditional arts and crafts bring the sights, sounds and spicy aromas of South Asia to Platt Fields Park each year. The Mela is a two day fun-filled event.

Some of the biggest names in the UK and International Asian entertainment scene perform on two stages on both the days. Other attractions include a huge selection of food stalls, free henna painting, rangoli, face painting, dance workshops, fashion show, a fun-fair and Kabbadi.


Edinburgh Mela

Edinburgh Mela

29th and 30th August, Leith Links

The Edinburgh Mela seeks to embrace all its diverse communities and cultures. The events aim is to provide a high quality festival of music, dance and the wider arts from around the world, with the express purpose of promoting understanding between people and advancing the cause of community coherence.


Belfast Mela

Belfast Mela

30th August, Botanic Gardens, 12 – 6pm

The Belfast Mela brings together tens of thousands of people to enjoy a show stopping line up featuring music, dance, food, fashion, street theatre, circus and carnival from across the globe. Situated near Queens University Belfast, the Botanic Gardens is an important part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students and tourists. Mela is an artistically led celebration of culture and creativity, inspired by local and international talent and celebrates identity through a unique programme of music, dance, food and visual arts.


Leicester Mela

Leicester Mela

31st August, Leicester City Centre, 11 – 6pm

The team are inviting the whole of the UK to experience a glittering mix of live music, dance, food, fashion arts and culture at the Leicester Belgrave Mela Festival. Indulge in delicious Indian cuisine from across the Indian subcontinent and shop till you drop in their famous Mela Bazaar. Enjoy a whole host of free South Asian arts and cultural activities throughout the city centre and experience electrifying live entertainment on the main stage. Join them, along with a few celebrity guests, for a free, fun-filled day out for the whole family that’s kindly supported by Leicester City Council.


“The events are a celebration of Asian culture and offer a great opportunity for our diverse communities to come together and learn more about our traditions and cultures.”

A selection of some of the other Mela Festivals taking place around the UK this Summer

Southampton Mela Festival :

11th July

Sandwell & Birmingham Mela :

25th and 26th July

Newcastle Mela :

31st August

Cardiff Multicultural Mela :

September – Date to be announced

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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