Over 40,000 celebrate in the sunshine
Tens of thousands of festival goers enjoyed a feast of culture including music, dance, food and children’s events as the council hosted another successful Boishakhi Mela on Sunday 30 June at Weaver’s Fields in Bethnal Green.
The Mela is the biggest outside South Asia. It began with a colourful parade of floats, including the boat (nowka), a giant tiger and a turtle, which weaved its way from Brick Lane to officially open the event.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “The Mela, has become a staple of the borough’s summer calendar and this year’s free event notched up a gear in giving residents and visitors a chance to experience the best of Bengali music, art and culture right on our doorstep.”
Headliners included global pop sensation Imran, much-loved folk singer Lovely Deb and Belly Afroz who entertained the audience with their energetic and captivating performances.
Other performers included established favourites Alaur Rahman, Hashi Rani, Amir Muhhammad and Suzanna Ansar, rising urban star Nish and internationally acclaimed Naz and Bolly Flex.
Away from the main stage, families and individuals from diverse backgrounds enjoyed creative and wellbeing activities, storytelling, theatre, workshops, poetry, and, new for this year, saree dressing up and selfie sessions in the festival’s family zone.
Councillor Sabina Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts and Brexit said: “Once again, the Mela was spectacular in bringing people and families of all backgrounds together to enjoy some of the rich culture that makes our borough the exciting, and vibrant place that it is. It kick-starts the season of amazing free activities that are available all summer.”