A record-breaking audience of 50,000 is forecast to take advantage of the good weather and free entry to visit the two-day multicultural celebration – the North-East’s largest and most long-established.
Held every year since 1990, the Middlesbrough College-sponsored Mela sees the town celebrate its culture and diversity through a wide range of music, entertainment, a funfair and a popular bazaar packed full of stalls.
Held in association with Middlesbrough College, the Mela will kick off at noon on Saturday (June 6) with a colourful parade featuring dozens of local children, together with a man-made camel and tiger.
Saturday will see local community acts take to the stage including Destinasian, Abingdon Steel Band, Macmillan Academy, Balbir Singh Dance Company, Mums the Word, WHK, Apollo Arts, Steelworks, Constellation, Bradley School of Dance, Tabs Studios, Teesside School of Music and Bellamy School of Dance.
While Saturday will culminate in local girl Kerrianne Covell making her first public performance in Middlesbrough since wowing the judges on last year’s X-Factor, global glamour acts will feature in Sunday’s eight-hour musical extravaganza.
RnB chart act Raghav – best known for his hits Angel Eyes and We Can Work it Out – arrives on Teesside from Canada for his only UK show of 2015.
Members of hip hop-meets-Bollywood dance act Bolly Nrutya are flying in from Mumbai in India, while UK singer-songwriter Arjun will be fresh from a performance in mainland Europe.
Mela programming manager Kash Patel says he has never been so excited by the Mela’s musical mix.
He said: “We’ve got acts arriving in to Middlesbrough throughout the weekend, having flown in from all over the world.
“We’ve always prided ourselves in putting on something for every musical taste, but this is definitely our best-ever line-up.
“There’s Pakistani, Punjabi, Hindi, Bhangra, dhol, RnB, pop and Bollywood – big UK names, world stars, cultural legends and future stars.”
Hosted by BBC Asian Network presenter Kan D Man from noon on Sunday, the Mela main stage will feature world music acts throughout Sunday.
Big names Jay KADN, Asian music star Arjun, Raghav and Britain’s Got Talent dance duo Signature are set to delight the large crowd before an on-stage visual finale – starting at 8.30pm – that is being kept a closely-guarded secret by the Mela organisers.
Mela chairman Satnam Singh said: “The committee has worked hard with great support from Middlesbrough Council to ensure the 25th Mela is a memorable one.
“Thanks to the support of our sponsors, especially Middlesbrough College, we can guarantee a fantastic celebration of multicultural music, food, fashion and art.”
The 25th Mela takes place in the town’s Centre Square, between the Town Hall and mima from midday on both Saturday and Sunday.
Organised by Middlesbrough Council in conjunction with a local community steering group, the Mela is also backed by Cleveland Centre, Teesside University, Unison, Arts Council England, housing association Coast and Country, Amigos Pizza, The Grand Astoria and the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.
Main Stage Running Order
Saturday, June 6
12.00 Local acts
5.00 Kerrianne Covell
5.30 Om Shanti Om (Bollywood film)
Sunday, June 7
(all times approximate)
12.00 Kan D Man (BBC Asian Network)
12.15 Spice fm DJs
1.00 Preet Singh (bhangra)
1.30 Zoe Lewis (Middlesbrough College guest speaker)
1.45 Joveta Deb Gupta (Bengali)
2.15 Jeet Chahil (Punjabi)
2.45 Inderjit London (Bhangra)
3.15 Bolly Nrutya (Hip hop dance)
3.30 Sarika Gill (Punjabi)
4.00 Virtual Dholis (Dhol)
4.15 Nav Sidhu (Bhangra)
4.45 Nesdi Jones (English-Hindi fusion)
5.15 Balwinder Safri (Old skool Bhangra)
6.00 Jay KADN (Pakistani)
6.30 Arjun (fusion)
7.00 Raghav (RnB-hip hop-Desi)
7.45 Signature (Pop-Bhangra fusion)
8.30 Encore and finale