A letter has been sent to supporters of the Swindon Mela saying that due a number of reasons the free and very popular celebration of south asian culture will not take place in 2014.
The event which has been held annually since 2002 drew in thousands of people, so many in fact that Swindon Council raised safety concerns. In early 2013 the council said organisers had to move the Mela to a larger venue such as Lydiard Park.
The Mela committee argued the event was safe and in early May cancelled the August event. An intervention by council leader David Renard allowed the 2013 day to carry on, but with strict limits on attendance. However momentum had been lost as many entertainers and traders booked themselves into other events around the country. As a result the Mela had to rescheduled for September.
Mini Plant Swindon came to the rescue with sponsorship last year but poor weather when it took place on 14 September was a set back and the committee has always been on the back foot from a funding and timescale point of view for 2014.
Swindon Mela directors and project coordinators hope to hold a summer evening in Town Gardens Bowl in early August and a series of mini-Melas to keep awareness alive whilst new funding and discussions with the council about the best venue continues.
Pictured in 2013 when Mini Plant drove to the sponsorship rescue: Foreground – Jo Johal, Mela Fundraising Group; Mina Bhogal, Swindon Mela Company Secretary; Jaspal Singh Bhui, Chair of the Swindon Mela; Chris Mark, Plant Manager MINI Plant Swindon. In the backgroun dancers from the Punjabi Event Club Swindon
The letter to Swindon Mela supporters explaining the decision:
Dear Swindon Mela Supporter
After much thought and deliberation the Directors and Project Team of the Swindon Mela are very sad to announce that the Mela will not take place this year.
The main reason for this is our cash reserves are now at level that we consider too low for staging this year’s event. The wet and windy weather that prevailed at last year’s event meant many visitors stayed away and this resulted in a considerable reduction of income via donations.
Over the years the challenge of raising money to stage the event has been getting more difficult and last year’s event depleted our resources to a very low level. Each year we are faced with additional expenditure and growing amounts to meet even more stringent regulatory requirements to deliver the event safely.
We are however determined to keep the Mela brand going and are optimistic that we can arrange for "Mini-Mela’s", evening Bowl Concerts and other fund raising events to be held in Swindon and Wiltshire throughout the coming months.
The additional revenue that we hope to raise from these events will ensure that we can continue to stage the event in 2015 as Swindon has come to expect.
We would very much like to request all of our stakeholders to help us raise funds during the coming months; sponsorship opportunities will be available along with the opportunity for recruiting volunteers to support our fund raising campaign.