The popular Tunbridge Wells Mela returns to Calverley Grounds, Tunbridge Wells, on Sunday 18th July, starting at 12 noon.
One of the biggest celebrations of cultural diversity, last year’s Tunbridge Wells Mela attracted 6,000 visitors making it one of the biggest events of its kind in Kent.
The Mela is organised by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in partnership with Cohesion Plus, Kent Equality Cohesion Council, Kent Police, Tunbridge Wells Arts Partnership and grant funded by the Arts Council of England.
The free outdoor festival brings together the communities of Tunbridge Wells through music, entertainment, food and dance from all over the world including the UK, Africa, Bangladesh and South America.
The performances on Sunday will include:
12.15pm Phase 5 Steel Band
Kent based steel combo playing sounds from the Caribbean. Back at the Mela by popular demand.
12.55pm Cascade Dance
Tunbridge Wells based Cascade Dance is a contemporary dance company focusing on education, community and performance. Although primarily a contemporary company, Cascade also offers a range of dance styles including ballet, jazz, physical theatre, street and hip hop.
1.15pm She’Koyokh Klezmer Ensemble
She’Koyokh is London’s award-winning klezmer ensemble performing Ashkenazi Jewish, Eastern European, Balkan and Turkish folk music.
1.50pm Local Schools
Local schools have been working with culturally diverse artists Cultural Beats, Lucky Moyo and Bloco Fogo to create exciting performances for the Mela.
2.15pm Lahing Kayumanggi
In a fast evolving world cultures merge and new art forms emerge. UK band Lahing Kayumanggi has become one of the leading dance companies in the folk culture and tradition of the Philippines.
Camden Road Choir
A welcome addition to the Mela, this popular, locally based Choir will be performing at the Mela for the first time.
Kaya supported by the London Symphony Studios
Popular Bangladeshi music star Kaya, supported by the London Symphony Studios, will be performing hits from his universally performed catalogue.
Locally based Cristofe Sors is a songwriting original. Cristofe has a huge following, of all ages, and will be performing from his debut album "My Tradition".
Cohesion Plus and Kent Music School present ‘Fusion Clash’
Energetic, colourful and exciting performance of traditional bhangra and bollywood, fused with pop and classical music, to create a vibrant new sound performed and led by young people based in Kent.
Carmen Souza Quartet
Carmen Souza will be bringing their distinctive sound to the Tunbridge Wells Mela. The quartet combine African rhythms with music of Cape Verdean ancestry to produce an innovative brand of Afro-Latin Jazz.
ADH, the popular bhangra star, will be performing his unique contemporary urban bhangra fusing the sounds of the Indian Subcontinent with the sounds of contemporary Britain.
The popular Kent based tribute band will bring the Mela to a spectacular climax performing the popular hits of the 1970s’ Super Group.
Digging Deep at the Mela
Celebrate archaeology all around the world with Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery at the Mela.
• become a desert archaeologist in our mini dig
• make an Ancient Egyptian treasure in our art and craft workshop
• create a clay sculpture to take away
Free activities for all ages on the bowling green
Spend some time on the bowling green in Calverley Grounds with the Tunbridge Wells Arts Partnership and try some different creative activities.
There will be lots of exciting things to make and do between 12 noon – 6pm. Enjoy art and craft activities, story-telling, performances and lots more.
Join in with the fun organised by Town and Country Housing Foundation, Tunbridge Wells Library, the Adult Education Centre, the Assembly Hall Theatre, Trinity and Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery.
The festival will also be linked to the Big Lunch – an Eden project initiative to bring neighbours together over lunch and we hope to create the biggest street party in the area - what a great idea.
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Natelie Fitzroy is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.