Mela Festival

Each year on the outskirts of London thousands flock to the London Mela Festival, a multi-cultural melange of old asian customs and heavy bollywood beats played out under huge tents and fair ground rides. From the food to the music, the identity of this festival mirrors and celebrates the between the old and new ways of doing things in the asian community.

With crowds of 80,00 and more, many journey to London to join this celebration of all things inspired by Asian culture. Families gather round artist and acrobats in an open air cabaret of creativity and sound. All of this is served up with a multitude of food stalls, the scents and aromas of whose wares are carried on the summer breeze as the crowds mill round the take-away stands, money held in hand.

Diversity abounds in every direction with dancers, drummers and the classic music recitals of the Philharmonia Orchestra all the way to the loud pounding Bangra beats of the darkly thronged BBC Asian Network Mix Tent. Pressed together in the darkness, young bodies jump and scream with each new act that takes the stage. These are the crowd’s heroes, playing on home territory to the amassed faithful who are stroked by stage light and sprayed water to try and keep the heat down.

When the sun finally sets and the revellers melt away into the fringed woodland that borders the park, it is clear that each visitor is carrying away a special cocktail of food and memories from one of the most inclusive festivals around.

Mark Esper
August 2010

Status: Unpublished
Awards: Nominated for the ANI Pix Palace ‘Coup de Coeur’ 2010 Prize.
Prints: Selected Prints are available for online purchase.
Image Licensing: Mark Esper. All Rights Reserved.

Share this: