Organisers are promising the best festival yet with visitor numbers forecast to even top the record-breaking 50,000 figures witnessed in recent years.
Held for the first time in 1990, the Mela has grown year-on-year through the combined efforts of Middlesbrough Council and a dedicated team of community volunteers.
The North East’s longest-established multicultural festival, the two-day event attracts a wide range of visitors to experience a diverse mix of live music, foods from around the world, craft and fashion stalls.
Sponsored by Middlesbrough College for the fourth successive year, the 25th Mela promises a fabulous mix of music, arts, food, fashion and fun as the town celebrates its culture and diversity.
Based in Centre Square at the heart of Middlesbrough town centre, the event provides world class music, a wide range of entertainment, a fun fair and a popular bazaar, packed full of stalls.
Following its successful launch last year, the Mela will again kick off with a colourful parade featuring hundreds of local children, a camel, a tiger and an elephant.
The biggest ever line-up of artists will provide an eclectic music mix to suit the tastes of all visitors over the weekend, while a special Bollywood film screening will close Saturday’s event.
An on-stage grand finale at 8.30pm on Sunday promises to send visitors home smiling.
Mela committee chairman Satnam Singh, who has been involved for 17 years, said: “The Mela is an annual celebration of everything that’s great about Middlesbrough, and the huge crowds it attracts every year are a testament to its enduring and increasing popularity.
“We are also so proud to be celebrating 25 years of Middlesbrough Mela. It hasn’t always been easy to make it happen and funding is ever tighter, so we’re particularly grateful to our sponsors for the support they are giving us.
“About 60% of our visitors are usually of Asian origin but the festival is a terrific showcase for the huge depth of cultural variety that we have here in Middlesbrough, and I am sure it will continue as an annual highlight for many years to come.”
Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive for Middlesbrough College, said: “Having had great feedback from our sponsorship of the Mela over the past few years, we are proud to again be sponsoring this very special event in Teesside’s community calendar.
“The Mela is a wonderful family event that brings people from all backgrounds together from across the town for a wonderful mixture of entertainment, music and fun. Events like this help to build strong communities.”
Cleveland Centre is part of the Mela’s sponsorship team for the first time, with the near neighbours supporting Iron Giants, a community stilt-walking project that will feature in both the launch parade and event finale.
The Centre is also backing the popular bazaar, which will host more than 100 food, fashion and information stalls.
Long-time supporters Teesside University’s involvement supports the Mela’s family arts and participation programme including theatre, sports and ceramics.
Funders also include Arts Council England, housing association Coast and Country and the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office
The event is organised by Middlesbrough Council in conjunction with a steering group comprising members of the local community.
- Bookings are now being taken for stalls. For more details about stall booking or about the Mela visit boromela.co.uk