Main image: Mughal Miniatures Walkabout, credit Irina Mackie.
UPDATE 14 JULY 2023 – DUE TO SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS, THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED
Celebrate unity, diversity, and creativity at the Southampton Mela Festival this weekend.
Immerse yourself in a vibrant celebration of music, culture, and community as the Southampton Mela Festival 2023 returns to Hoglands Park on 15th July for a spectacular showcase of world-class performances and cultural delights.
The Chief Executive of Art Asia, Dahlia Jamil said, “I am delighted to welcome you to the Southampton Mela Festival 2023, a vibrant celebration of music, culture, and community. This established festival, deeply rooted in our local community for over 25 years, fosters a sense of belonging, unity, and inclusivity.
“It serves as a platform for both established artists, like the mesmerising Sonia Sabri, and emerging talents, providing them with a space to showcase their artistry.
“The Mela is not only a showcase of artistic excellence but also an environmentally conscious event, dedicated to minimising our ecological footprint. By participating in the Mela, you are embracing a culturally diverse experience while supporting local businesses. We hope you enjoy this whole day filled with music, food, arts, and family fun!”
This year’s festival offers the chance to experience the mesmerising Indian Classical Music of Pandit Sanju Sahai, transporting you to a world of melodic enchantment with Jaymini Sahai’s Kathak dance weaving a spell with its intricate footwork and expressive storytelling. You can groove to the energetic beats of Bhangra Artists Foji Gill, Happy Singh, and Shin DCS, as they bring the vibrant Punjabi folk dance to life., and be enchanted by Rakhi Sood’s TMC Dancers’ captivating Bollywood Dance, showcasing the essence of Indian cinema through rhythmic movement and vibrant costumes.
In addition to these exceptional acts, the festival presents a range of other performances that promise to leave you spellbound. Witness the magical Mughal Miniatures, a brand-new outdoor performance event, from one of the world’s leading Kathak dance artists, the acclaimed and award-winning Birmingham-based Sonia Sabri Company; watch as they bring the historical paintings of the Mughal Empire to life through their exquisite movements. Feel the power of unity and harmony as the Inner Vision Orchestra, with its diverse ensemble of blind and visually impaired musicians, creates symphonies of inclusivity. Lose yourself in the mystical melodies of the Khan brothers’ Qawalli music, and sway to the Bollywood Songs performed by Pooja Angra & Karan Rana.
The festival also welcomes The Dandanakka Kalai Kuzhu who are a group of amateur folk artists who will perform using the Parai; an ancient percussion instrument from Tamil Nadu, South India. It is intertwined with the lives of the Tamils from birth to death. The group believe music, of any form, is a great healer and leveller and should not be confined to any boundaries.
Art Asia is deeply connected with the local community through its music and dance classes and outreach projects; festival goers can delight in a range of music and dance performances from Art Asai students and local community groups on the Community Stage throughout the day.
The Mela Festival is not only about South Asian performances; it is also a celebration of diverse cultures. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of global traditions and discover the beauty of different artistic expressions from Chinese Arts Southampton, African Activities and even music from Afghanistan with the Ajmal Band and many more.
You can also indulge your taste buds with the delightful offerings from various food stalls. Experience a food extravaganza with a wide array of culinary delights from various cuisines. Whether you crave spicy Indian dishes, aromatic Middle Eastern flavours, or tantalising Asian street food, there is something to satisfy every palate.
The event will also feature a new Arts Bazaar Marketplace, featuring arts and crafts, small businesses, and designer makers selling their wares.
The site will also be adorned with flags created from a collaboration between Arts University Bournemouth and Art Asia. Now in its second year, this opportunity saw 4 winning designs from textile design students at the university get selected and printed onto flags to add colour to the site. There is also a creative workshop where you can create your own version of the flags to take home; using designs from this years’ competition, this is your chance to get creative, have fun and fly the flag for the Mela all year round.
Popular activities around the festival site include the Sports Zone and engaging visual arts workshops. The Sports Zone aims to promote active engagement and camaraderie among festival-goers. Make sure to join in Zumba sessions, gymnastics and even boxing with Mr Funky Fit.
In collaboration with Arts University Bournemouth and John Hansard Gallery amongst others, the Southampton Mela Festival offers immersive visual arts workshops throughout the day. Led by skilled professionals, these workshops provide a platform for attendees to unleash their creativity and explore various artistic mediums. Participants of all ages can experiment with different techniques and express themselves through art.
- Southampton Mela Festival 2023 is free to attend and is held at Hoglands Park, Southampton SO14 1JZ from 12 noon – 9pm.
- Find out more at www.artasia.org.uk
- In Common is not for profit. We rely on donations from readers to keep the site running. Could you help to support us for as little as 25p a week? Please help us to carry on offering independent grass roots media. Visit: https://www.patreon.com/incommonsoton