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Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Friday, 11 June 2010 14:50 UK
Arts in the spotlight as Bradford's famous Mela returns
Bradford Mela attracts many people to come and join in the fun and festivities

Bradford Mela is back in 2010 and is set to be bigger and better than ever.

The Mela will be held at Peel Park on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June 2010 and will host a colourful mix of talent and cultures from all over the world.

Bradford's Kala Sangam is one of the many arts organisations taking part.

Kala Sangam's Programme Manager Ajit Singh says it is a very special event: "The Mela is probably the largest community cohesive event in the social calendar for people in Bradford."

Ajit Singh
Ajit Singh from Kala Sangam says he's excited about this year's Mela

Last year, Bradford Mela celebrated its 21st anniversary with over 200,000 people attending the outdoor event.

This year it returns with a more intimate, family-focused theme.

As always with the Mela the arts are very much at the centre of events and Kala Sangam's Ajit Singh says he is very happy his organisation is taking part.

He says: "Being one of the prominent South Asian arts companies in the region, we have been invited again this year to do some performances.

"We will be primarily holding dance performances on the Mango and Guava stage this year.

"We are also doing some workshops in the 'bCreative' tents so that people who see the performances have an opportunity to actually talk to the artists and even have a go themselves if they wish."

Ajit says that Kala Sangam's history with the Mela goes back a long way.

He explains: "There have been various ways in which we have been involved through local, national and regional artists in small tents and stands to large scale performances like you will see this year."

Three girls at the Mela
Bradford Mela 2010 will be more of a family-focused event

One of the highlights of this year's Mela is expected to be the Bio Dome, which will showcase the International Year of Biodiversity through a series of performances and workshops.

It celebrates the variety of nature and life on Earth and will include a number of children-friendly activities such as Snail Olympics and storytelling.

Ajit Singh says he feels that this year's Bradford Mela is taking on a welcome new approach.

He says: "I think this year there has been more focus on integrated family events and rightly so.

"I think there is going to be more and more programming around getting more hands-on activity for people to see and not just the same old kind of Bollywood, Bhangra and Asian pop bands that have been going on for years."

There will be all sorts of artists performing at the Mela, from singers to dancers to brass bands and they come from all parts of the world.

There will also be a number of workshops where people can find out more about South Asian culture, as well as interactive sports sessions and colourful costume making.

Despite the fact the World Cup may well be on a lot of people's minds, Ajit Singh says he is sure there will be a good crowd.

I think this year there has been more focus on integrated family events and rightly so.
Ajit Singh

He says: "The rain is something that can put people off and this year probably also the World Cup.

"But otherwise I think we are expected to get another good turnout."

Ajit is also keen to point out that the Mela is not just for people from a South Asian background.

He explains: "It is an event for everybody. It is a chance for people to come and see what activities, what performances, what events are going on and what people have been working on throughout the year.

"It is a celebration and an excuse for communities to get together."

Bradford Mela takes place at Peel Park in Bradford on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 June 2010. Admission to the event is free.



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