LORD MAYOR ANNOUNCES RETURN TO BOTANIC GARDENS FOR BELFAST MELA WITH NEW EIGHT-DAY MELA FESTIVAL ACROSS THE CITY

Northern Ireland’s largest cultural diversity festival, the 16th Belfast Mela, sponsored by Sensata Technologies makes a welcome return to Botanic Gardens on Sunday 28 August inviting the world back into the heart of the city with an amazing line-up of global music, dance, art, theatre, wellbeing and food after a break of two years due to the global pandemic. 

This year’s Mela Festival will be bigger and better than ever before taking place over eight days starting with a spectacular FREE Mela Carnival on Saturday 20 August through the streets of Belfast backed up by daily Mela Plus events across Belfast, leading up to the annual Mela Day extravaganza in Botanic Gardens on Sunday 28 August.

Highlights of the 2022 Belfast Mela Festival include:

Saturday 20 August: A spectacular FREE Mela Carnival through Belfast City Centre from 12 noon at Writer’s Square to City Hall at 1pm. 1500 participants representing more than 20 different cultural groups will be taking part with pulsating world music and dance and amazing sculptures finishing at City Hall for breath-taking aerial acrobatics displays by Fidget Feet at 2pm and 4pm. There’s also live global performances on stage hosted by U105’s Carolyn Stewart and UTV’s Paul Reilly along with food and arts workshops.

21 – 27 August: Mela Plus – Daily music, dance, wellbeing and theatre performances including:

·         Roshni at Lyric Theatre on Monday 22 Aug– Enjoy Sonia’s distinctive style of dance, rooted in the traditions of Kathak from Northern India.

·         Neil Martin’s Connections Concert at St Anne’s Cathedral on Tuesday 23 Aug – Featuring 14 local musicians from across the globe now living in Northern Ireland.

·         Songs of the Earth on Wednesday 24 Aug at QFT Belfast – Special showing of this dynamic climate change animation film to celebrate Mela’s green credentials. ArtsEkta will plant a tree for every paid entry to Mela Day.

·         Silk Road Super Club at Banana Block on Thursday 25 Aug – Featuring a three course Eritrean meal inspired by the cooking stories of local asylum seekers and refugees.

·         Global Céilí on Friday 26 Aug at 101 Donegall Street – Fusing together dancing from Scotland, Ireland, China, Indian and Mexico.

Sunday 28 August: Mela Day at Botanic Gardens The city’s annual celebration of global cultures with thousands of visitors expected to visit Botanic Gardens from 12 noon to 6pm for the big Mela Finale hosted by U105’s Carolyn Stewart and UTV’s Marc Mallet.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tina Black said: “I am thrilled that the amazing diversity of colours, sounds

and tastes of Belfast Mela will be returning to our beautiful Botanic Gardens on Sunday August 28. It will be the

perfect afternoon to round off the summer. We’re very proud supporters of the Belfast Mela’s organisers ArtsEkta because they do so much to unite our communities in celebration. We wish Nisha, her team and all the ArtsEkta partners the best of luck for their eight-day programme – and hope that everyone attending has a really wonderful time.”

Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey said: “My Department has been proud to support the Mela over many years as it has grown into one of Belfast’s flagship festivals, providing a major platform for a wide variety of cultural groups to share their cultural identity with the thousands of people who attend each year. One of my priorities as Minister for Communities is Wellbeing and Inclusion. Showcasing and celebrating the diversity of our City is incredibly important as we work towards building a shared future together. The Mela embodies my vision of the welcoming and inclusive community I want all of us to be a part of. I am delighted to see it returning for 2022 and I would encourage everyone to join in this year and experience it for themselves.”

Nisha Tandon, OBE, Founder of Belfast Mela and Director of ArtsEkta said: “We are delighted to be back with our first full festival since the pandemic and our most ambitious programme to date including the long-awaited return to Botanic Gardens for our festival finale. From outdoor spectacles, late night music, pop up food events and walking tours, to exhibitions, wellbeing days, film screenings and theatre there is really something for everyone in what is now the biggest celebration of cultural diversity on the island of Ireland. We are so proud to have been working with hundreds of artists, thousands of participants and are looking forward to welcoming up to 60,000 attendees to events over eight days.”

Adriana Morvaiova, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Specialist at Sensata Technologies, title sponsor of the Belfast Mela says: “As a global company, we are very proud of our diverse workforce. We know that we are smarter together. That’s why we are delighted to continue our support for the Belfast Mela Festival and its goal to celebrate the richness of culture that we have in Northern Ireland. It’s great to see it adapt this year to an eight-day long celebration with lots of events for all the family.” 

Full Mela 2022 Programme via link below: https://belfastmela.org.uk/mela-plus/#book-events

With the exception of the FREE Mela Carnival all Mela Plus events and Mela Day must be booked in advance online. Mela Day tickets cost £8 adults, £6 concession (children aged between 5 – 15 and the over 60s) £16 family (2 adults and 2 children under 16) Children under 5 go free. Mela Plus events price varies.

The Belfast Mela is principally funded by Belfast City Council with support from Arts Council for NI; Tourism NI, Community Relations Council; National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Lottery Community Fund, Public Health Agency and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. The title sponsor is Sensata Technologies and Media Partners are UTV and U105. Friends of Belfast Mela include Allstate NI; Belfast Harbour; Co-Ownership; Danske Bank; Department of Finance & NICS; Department of Justice; Equality Commission for Northern Ireland; Grant Thornton; Liberty IT; Phoenix Natural Gas; Pinsent Masons; Queen’s University; Translink; Tony Clarke & Co and Visit Belfast.

Follow ArtsEkta’s social media for updates on this year’s Belfast Mela Festival: Facebook – facebook.com/artsekta1 and Instagram and Twitter @ArtsEkta using #belfastmela

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