Northern Ireland news

Belfast Mela promises to widen your world

Dona Das Gupta and Jade Rodgers at the Launch of this year's Belfast Mela 2015 Picture by Hugh Russell
Nóirín Ní Ruaidhrí

THE ninth Belfast Mela - the multi-award-winning ethnic arts festival - was launched yesterday in typically colourful style.

From humble beginnings, the Mela, whose name means 'gathering' or 'to meet', now attracts more visitors than any other summer festival, last year bringing more than 30,000 people to Botanic Gardens.

Nisha Tandon, director of the summer celebration that showcases the food, culture and music of the north's ethnic minority communities, said: "Belfast now celebrates diversity and Belfast Mela is the most vibrant, cosmopolitan festival that we have to offer.

"The arts are not just for the elite. They are for everyone and Mela is about meeting and accepting people, sharing similarities and embracing difference."

Performers at this year's event on August 30 will include African percussion act The Ladies of Midnight Blue and Indian drum group The Dhol Foundation. The festival will also feature Irish artists and acts from as far way as Co Cork.

"Mela Belfast is an opportunity to connect and unite intercultural relationships in the north of Ireland," said Jeremy Adams, chairman of Mela organising body Artsekta.

"It embraces diversity and shows how Northern Ireland can embrace living with so many cultures."

:: Belfast Mela takes place on Sunday August 30, 12-6pm, at Botanic Gardens Belfast. Visit Belfastmela.org for more information.

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