Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 13.00.41MOBO award-winning singer Raghav is the first headline act to be confirmed for the 25th Middlesbrough Mela.

The North East’s biggest multicultural festival is expected to attract record-breaking figures of around 50,000 for its landmark event on the weekend of June 6 and 7.

Raghav’s only UK appearance this year is sure to be a popular choice with Mela attendees of all tastes and ages, as he makes his second appearance at the festival, more than a decade after his first.

The Canadian-born singer, whose parents are Indian, enjoyed a series of UK hits in 2004 and 2005 including Angel Eyes, Can’t Get Enough and Let’s Work It Out, while he also featured in 2Play’s top 10 smashes So Confused and It Can’t Be Right.

Mela programming manager Kash Patel is looking to recreate many of the highlights of the Mela’s first 25 years, so he is naturally delighted with Raghav’s return.

“Raghav’s 2004 appearance at the Mela remains one of the most memorable shows we’ve ever had,” said Kash, who has been booking the festival’s acts for the past 15 years.

“He was at his peak popularity back then and created such a frenzy among the crowd that extra security had to be brought in.”

Other acts confirmed for the event’s super Sunday are UK Bhangra legend Balwinder Safri and Welsh singer Nesdi Jones, voted 2014’s best newcomer in the UK Bhangra Awards.

Organisers have secured additional funding for what they aim to make the best Mela yet after announcing UNISON as main stage sponsor.

Clare Williams, UNISON Northern Regional convenor, said: “As the region’s largest public sector trade union, UNISON Northern is proud to support the Middlesbrough Mela to promote the rich multicultural heritage of the town through this new partnership.

“We look forward to working with the council and supporting events at the Mela.”

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 funfair 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 dozens of local children, a camel, a tiger and an elephant.

Other backers include Cleveland Centre, Teesside University, 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.

  • The Mela committee is running a competition to win two back-stage passes to meet and mingle with all of the headline acts.

To win, name all 25 of the Mela’s headline acts featured on the publicity poster for the 25th anniversary festival.

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