The 15th year of the ZEE London Mela saw London’s second biggest community event and Europe’s biggest festival of South Asian culture return to its original home in Gunnersbury Park for a feast of music, dance, performance, food and family fun, featuring some of the world’s biggest and best South Asian artists in an extraordinary coming together of the diaspora’s musical heavyweights.
Over 26,000 people saw incredible performances from the likes of Desi Crew alongside Team B, who set the crowd alight with their furious blend of production and dance, iconic British-Indian rapper Hard Kaur, contemporary Bhangra superstar Miss Pooja, India’s premiere exponents of political ska The Ska Vengers and the godfathers of cross-genre British-Indian experimentation Asian Dub Foundation.
They were joined on the mainstage by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who introduced Hard Kaur’s set, saying, “I’m proud that we’ve helped to make ZEE London Mela even bigger and better this year – it’s events like this, taking place in all corners of the city, that showcase London at its diverse, lively and open best.”
A total of 40 performances took place, spread amongst four stages with further highlights including a homecoming for former Hounslow resident, now New York-based Bhangra-hip hop MC DJ Rekha, DJ collective Panjabi Hit Squad on the BBC Asian Network Stage, a vibrant and colourful display of Bharatanatyam dance by The Bhavan & IIW and Jay Kumar’s Bollywood-influenced Dance Asia on the Love to Dance stage, and Mercury Prize-winning percussionist Talvin Singh who presented a range of atmospheric and experimental sounds on his own curated stage: Anokha. The Mela came to a jaw-dropping close with an incredible display of aerial percussion from Transe Express and East London’s Dhol Academy (with the help of a 100ft crane), before a spectacular fireworks display.
Zee London Mela Artistic Director Ajay Chhabra said, “Our 15th anniversary festival has been our best yet. The range of artists across four brilliantly distinctive stages (and our Magic Mela family area) has transformed the Zee London Mela into a completely unique festival celebrating the very best of what London has to offer.
“At a time when London needs spaces for communities to come together, the London Mela becomes an important cultural event as well as a wonderful feast of entertainment.”
The next stop for the ZEE London Mela is Croydon on 30th September for another glorious display of the capital’s best music and culture.