Festival season in Tower Hamlets moved up a gear on Sunday July 1, when the council successfully hosted another renowned Boishakhi Mela, attracting around 40,000 revellers across the day from the borough and beyond.
A parade from Brick Lane to the festival site in Weavers Fields, Bethnal Green officially launched the biggest celebration of the Bengali New Year in Europe.
The colourful procession with music and fabulous floats included a magnificent tiger, an elephant as well as a peacock whose striking plumage was at the front of the parade.
The hot weather was perfect for the day with glorious sunshine adding to the carnival atmosphere.
On the main stage, some of the biggest names in Bangla music and dance performed as people of all ages and backgrounds rocked to the music.
Headline acts included internationally renowned fusion band Chirkutt alongside folk singer Ashik who came over from Bangladesh to join the stellar line up.
Performances by the internationally renowned Mumzy, Naz & Bolly Flex plus a large number of local acts including Taal Torongo, Ina Khan, Tareque Hasan, Shatabdi Kar, Baul Abdul Shohid, and Gouri Choudhry kept the crowds entertained throughout the day.
Mayor John Biggs said: “I am very proud of the fact that Tower Hamlets is home to the Mela, which is the biggest Bengali festival outside of South Asia.
I was delighted to once again lead the parade for this important celebration of the Bengali New Year.”
“It was great to see visitors of all backgrounds come together to enjoy this free, day long festival with spectacular music, dance, arts and culture and cuisine.”
The Mela also featured a Family and Arts Zone with a range of free creative activities. Highlights included Bengali arts and crafts workshops and storytelling sessions. The ‘Kobita Corner’ allowed visitors to explore traditional and contemporary Bengali poetry and literature brought to life through talks and readings.
A creatively sculptured Banyan Tree, a new feature for this year’s Mela, provided an intimate space for festival goers to relax and soak up performances by flautist Moklich Miah and some of the community groups from the main satge..
A Mela Marketplace buzzed with gastronomical delights of multicultural Britain and colourful traditional clothes, handicrafts and toys on offer.
There’s a lot to do in Tower Hamlets this summer. Take a look at our Summer Activities guide 2018: https://bit.ly/2tb1ihg
Posted on Wednesday 4th July 2018