I’ve now been involved with the Southampton Mela Festival for 12 years and the festival is now in its 18th year. Over my time I have seen Art Asia build year on year to create a day offering a great family day out with plenty of entertainment and activities for all.
The festival attracts around 28,000 people into Hoglands Park, which for one day a year fills with great arts and culture from around the world. The colours, sights and spectacular of the day is joyous and just makes you smile. The Mela is inclusive, in a celebratory and relaxed way. It’s the people that come along that make the day by creating a happy and friendly atmosphere.
It started as a South Asian arts festival (arts from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) but over its history, it has grown to welcome music and dance from around the world including Africa, Spain, Afghanistan and China.
On the day you can enjoy traditional, contemporary and fusion music and dance. The Main Stage offers a mixture of international musicians and dancers, whilst the world stage features music from around the world as well as local acts. The bustling food-court offers dishes from all corners of the world and shoppers can browse numerous stalls offering handmade jewellery, clothing, arts and crafts. Meanwhile, children of all ages can let off steam in the Sports Zone or get creative in the Activity Zone.
The Southampton Mela Festival is free, as are most of the activities on the day. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming with surprise performances from street artists popping up throughout the day. The Activity Zone and Sports Zone are particularly popular with children of all ages offering lots of activities, workshops and demonstrations to take part in but equally, you can also find our own bit of park, stretch out and just soak up the atmosphere and sunrays.
I believe the Southampton Mela Festival is a jewel in Southampton’s crown, there aren’t many free days out for families, especially offering great culture and entertainment. It’s a festival for all of Southampton and it just gets better year on year.
The Southampton Mela Festival opens at 12 noon in Hoglands Park on Saturday 13th July. There is more information on the Southampton Mela Festival website and you can also find Art Asia on Facebook and Twitter.