The prize-winning Swindon Mela, now in its tenth year, has been described as the “best in the west” – the southwest’s biggest free “Indian” festival, celebrating the sights, sounds and tastes of the best that the Indian sub-continent has to offer.
The Mela’s reputation goes before it. Last year’s festival held in July saw a record-breaking 23,000 people attending on the day and enjoying the sunshine, the music and dance, the mouth-watering foods, and the huge variety of stalls and activities which were on offer
Lean times, however, have seen a number of key sponsors tightening their belts and pulling out of funding this most colourful of events. Swindon Mela’s organising body, Swindon Mela Ltd is desperate to raise funds for this year’s Swindon Mela, due to be held on Saturday 25 August at the Town Gardens in Swindon’s Old Town.
Sonny Hamid, Project Manager of Swindon Mela Ltd said,“I have been involved with the Swindon Mela now for over four years, and know that it has become a “must see” for “Swindonians” and “non- Swindonians” alike.
“The 2012 Mela promises to be the biggest and best yet, IF we can secure the funding for it. I am hopeful that we can attract more sponsorship and funding by raising awareness of our difficulties. If people know about the issues, then they can start doing something about it, coming forward with ideas, volunteering or helping us raise money to ensure that we have a Mela in 2012 we can all be proud of.
“After all, this is a free event for the people of Swindon. It is an event which promotes the cultures of South Asia in the most exciting ways and which contributes enormously to the local economy. It also helps community cohesion and introduces young people to the arts and crafts of south Asia, many of whom carry on developing their skills in this area. We are all committed to the festival and to working with and for our diverse communities in the Swindon area.
“This is why I think it is vitally important that we continue to run the Mela and why we need a helping hand to help “Save Our Mela!”
On Saturday 9 June, Swindon Mela Ltd will be running a special “Taste of the Mela” event at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery. This special, one-off event happening in the run up to the Mela will help raise vital funds for the main event during the August Bank Holiday weekend.
“A Taste of the Mela” will transform the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery into a mini festival of South Asian Culture. Marie Lennon, who is a volunteer with the Swindon Mela committee, is organising the whole event.
Marie said, “I am really looking forward to running this event and for raising lots of money towards the Swindon Mela 2012. I can guarantee that this will be a great day out. People will have the chance to eat delicious food, get their feet moving and to have a go at Tabla drumming. If people want to chill, they can relax and have an Indian head massage, or their hands decorated with Henna, ready for the summer”.
The event will run from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm on Saturday 9 June. Donations will be taken on the door.
Swindon Mela Ltd will be running a number of other “taster” sessions such as curry evenings and mini Mela events to raise money for the 2012 Mela. These will be promoted over the coming weeks and months.
To find out more about “A Taste of the Mela” go to “A Taste of the Mela” page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/118936471568676/.
To find out more about the main Swindon Mela event, to make a donation, offer of sponsorship or to volunteer your services go to http://www.swindonmela.com/mela/