For the 10th year running the town is hosting its award-winning Mela – the South West’s biggest free festival – celebrating the sights, sounds and tastes of the best that the Indian sub-continent has to offer.
Some 25,000 people are expecting to visit Town Gardens in Old Town for a vast array of attractions – music and dance, culture, arts and crafts, colourful stalls, selling everything from beautiful saris and jewellery to accessories, homeware and musical instruments, a range of fun activities like learning to tie a turban, Bollywood dance workshops, and a Health Zone.
Because a major sponsor pulled out the tenth Swindon Mela was in severe doubt up to the beginning of July. However, organisers have pulled together an ambitious programme as good as any other year and for the first time are asking visitors to make a voluntary donation of £2 to cover running costs and to create a bank balance to ensure there can be a Mela next year.
Fundraising coordinator Bruce Clarke said: "Organisation of the Swindon Mela has come close to collapse but it is happening, thanks to people’s support to ensure it can happen on 25 August. But we still have major costs to cover and we need to create financial security for the future.
"The event tomorrow is still free, but we’re asking visitors to make a donation to ensure all the bills can be met and that we can confidently organise Swindon Mela next year without financial clouds hanging over us."
Right, Dorothy Clarke putting her Bollywood Dreamers through their paces wth Olympic Games mascot Wenlock
See the full Mela programme at www.swindonmela.com