Reports: Birmingham NEC Mela axed

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According to a report in the Eastern Eye paper, the Birmingham NEC ‘Mela’ has been axed by organisers Clarion Events due to falling attendance figures over the past few years.

Birmingham has been the home to the Mela since 1998 when it was then known as the ‘BBC’s Mega Mela’, this was then followed with ZEE TV’s association with the ‘Mela’. STAR TV also jumped on the bandwagon by taking over as headline sponsors when it was rebranded the ‘STAR National Mela’ in 2005. ZEE TV was once again re-named as title sponsors of the revamped ‘Mela’ last year. Last year Clarion Events, the organisers of the ‘Mela’ invested �1,000,000.

Gordon Payne, spokesman for Clarion Events, told Eastern Eye that the company was still in the process of reviewing the model.

He said: “There will definitely not be a replica of the Mela events of the past. We were very disappointed with the attendance, which fell about a third short of growth expectations for last year. We are still in the process of evaluating the reasons.

“But this does not reflect our lack of interest in the Asian market. We are looking at various models. Melas continue to be very popular in London so someone just needs to come up with a winning format and formula for the West Midlands.”

Indi Johal was one of the co-ordinators of last year�۪s Mela. she said: “The Mela requires huge investment and these decisions are based on sheer investment level. We probably need a slight revamp of the model to reduce the Bollywood element and increase the British Asian element because it went really well overall.”

The paper has described this loss as a striking blow to British Asian culture. Not all is at loss though, Sony Entertainment Television Asia and Sunrise Radio have organised their own Asian exhibition taking place at the NEC later this month. However, if this proves unsuccessful, could this be the beginning of the end for the once-popular Asian exhibitions?

ZEE Network’s Carnival, which was held last month proved a huge success in London. The broadcaster hinted a big turn-out up to the figure of 40,000 spectators over the three days. ‘Big Brother’ winner Shilpa Shetty and Priyanka Chopra proved a massive draw at the event.

If Clarion Events has axed its association with the ‘Mela’, then could the likes of Media Moguls or ZEE TV run their own three-day exhibition in the second city? Watch this space for more updates.

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