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VIDEO: Thousands celebrate Mela's 21st anniversary
Tens of thousands of people flocked to the Bradford Mela over the weekend to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the international event.
A host of musicians, artists and dancers provided entertainment for the crowds stretching across Peel Park, displaying an international mix of cultures, communities and creativity, as well as food stalls, street theatre and a funfair.
Organisers of this year’s Mela hoped to create a family atmosphere with attractions such as the Hive – an interactive arena where children enjoyed workshops with themes of bees, flowers, nature and the environment.
One of the largest attractions was the Mango Stage where thousands watched performers such as bhangra pioneer Channi Singh of Alaap and Jazzy B, from Canada, who has fast become one of the best selling bhangra artists in the world.
A new stage introduced at this year’s event was the Peel Stage, where the city’s rising musical talent were able to perform, including the likes of Bradford’s own rock outfit Faze and more acoustic based Wilful Missing.
Bradford Mela producer Ben Pugh said: “We have been working to make the event more family friendly and by providing more family stages and events what we are actually able to do is capture the essence of the many different cultures that are represented in Bradford.”
Mr Pugh estimated about 2,500 people had worked together to bring the Mela to realisation – and expected the crowds to top 100,000.
Councillor Adrian Naylor, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration, said the Bradford Mela, the first in Europe, helped give the city a worldwide recognition.
He said: “In terms of businesses this is a great showcase, as you walk around you see everything, from the voluntary sector to the private sector.
Restaurateur Omar Khan hosted and provided food for the VIP area. He said: “This is something that is excellent for all the communities getting together and being part of each other’s cultures and knowing each others cultures.”
Saleem Kader, managing director of Bombay Stores Group, said his company sponsored the Mela. He said: “Commercially we don’t really make the money back, but what’s more important for us is the association with the Mela.”