Magical Mela Returns for 12th Year

Northern Ireland’s biggest celebration of cultural diversity, the Belfast Mela, will be returning to Botanic Gardens, Belfast, on Sunday August 26 from 12 noon until 6pm.
More than 25,000 people visit the Belfast Mela each August and this year’s festival promises to be the biggest ever hosted by U105’s Carolyn Stewart and UTV’s Paul Reilly and Julian Simmons.

Organised by ArtsEkta, the Belfast Mela is a wonderful family day celebrating Northern Ireland’s increasing cultural diversity with music, dance, food and much more from around the world.

Speaking at the launch event on Thursday, the Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey congratulated ArtsEkta on the hugely positive impact the Belfast Mela has made on Belfast saying: “The award-winning Belfast Mela launched by pioneering cultural organisation ArtsEkta is our country’s biggest celebration of cultural diversity. Over the August bank holiday weekend, Botanic Gardens is transformed into a magical global garden welcoming tens of thousands of visitors from Belfast and beyond into one vibrant shared cultural space.

“The Mela is a leading example of Belfast at its best – a welcoming, positive and vibrant city with diverse and proud citizens. It is a celebration of our continuing journey to become a truly shared and cosmopolitan society where communities live harmoniously and with mutual respect.”

Nisha Tandon, OBE, Founder and Executive Director, ArtsEkta says: “We are so proud that Mela has grown to become one of the city’s signature cultural events promoting Belfast as an open, inclusive and welcoming place to live and do business. Many communities have made Belfast their home and it has never been more important that we embrace the individuality and cultural heritage of each citizen and find strength in our diversity.

“The success of Mela is rooted in a desire by all communities across Belfast and beyond to be part of something that represents their own cultural identity. In a time where equality and rights are under the spotlight we must continue to move forward together where every community, and particularly those in the minority, are respected and feel their place in the 21st century Northern Ireland. The Mela underpins this and represents Belfast as the vibrant, enriched, intercultural and ambitious city it is growing to become.

“In 2018, we present a bold, vibrant and colourful cultural celebration working with hundreds of artists, locally and internationally, to create a wonderful world of music, dance, food and arts for all the family to enjoy together. We are particularly excited about our new finale commission, Reunite, which will involve over 100 local performers in a contemporary outdoor theatre spectacle inspired by Bollywood.”

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group, owners of the SPAR brand in Northern Ireland and title sponsors of the Mela added:
“SPAR is proud to be the first title sponsor of the Belfast Mela. It is a perfect partnership as both brands are committed to celebrating the best of our communities in Northern Ireland. We look forward to being part of this extraordinary celebration of cultural diversity through music, dance, food and fun for all the family which has captured the hearts of the Northern Ireland people.”

Find out more about the enchanting experiences for children at this year’s Mela in our Around The World In A Day feature here 

Tickets are now available to book online priced £7 for adults; £6 concession and a family ticket costs £15, covering entry for 2 adults and 2 children under 16.

Book now for early bird discounts at
Image caption: Pictured at the launch of the 12th Belfast Mela, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey with Nisha Tandon with members of the Chinese Dance Group NI and Dona Das Gupta and Dailya Kadhir (Bollywood Dancers) 

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