Page last updated at 20:00 GMT, Sunday, 10 August 2008 21:00 UK

Thousands flock to London's Mela

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Navdip Dhariwal meets some of the acts backstage at the Mela

Thousands of people have attended the London Mela in west London - said to be Europe's largest Asian festival.

The day-long festival at Gunnersbury Park, which is now in its sixth year, showcased the best of South Asian music, dance, food, comedy and cabaret.

"It's like the Notting Hill Carnival, the Glastonbury of Asian music," said Radio One DJ Bobby Friction.

Headline acts at the Mela, which means "meeting" in Sanskrit, included Raghav, Jassi Sidhu and Taio Cruz.

The free festival had seven zones and featured urban, classical and experimental music, DJs, circus, dance, visual arts, comedy, a children's area, food from around the world and a giant funfair.

'More mainstream'

Dancers at the London Mela 2003
The Mela showcases the best of British Asian talent

Raghav, who scored three top 20 hits in 2004 and 2005, made his UK comeback on the main stage.

"I can't think of a better place to be," he told the BBC's Asian Network.

"The Asian scene in the UK means so much to me. To be at, I think, the biggest Mela in the world, is really important."

Friction, who is compering the Radio One stage with his on-air co-presenter Nihal, said the success of the Mela proved that Asian music was becoming more mainstream.

"You could compare it to what happened to reggae through the 70s," he said.

"It was a music that expressed the voice of a small community. It's now a British form of music. It's earned it's place in the history of music."




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