In the Mela rhythm
THE Town Gardens are set to come alive with colour and noise this weekend as the long-awaited Mela festival takes place.
Now in its 11th year, the one-day Indian-themed festival is set to attract thousands of people on Saturday ready to enjoy the music, dancing and crafts that have been months in the preparation.
At noon the festival will be opened by chairman of the Mela project, Jaspal Singh Bhui, followed by opening speeches from Swindon mayor, Nick Martin (Con, Shaw) and council leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick), a cake-cutting ceremony and a procession from the bandstand to the showcase stage.
Jaspal said: “I am definitely looking forward to it like the last 10 years “It’s the people’s Mela, we put it together for them not for anybody else, it’s their event.”
One of the main attractions will be the return of the Sikh martial arts display by Baba Deep Singh Gatka Akhara, which has not been part of the festival for the past three years.
From 5.10pm to 6.30pm at the showcase stage visitors can enjoy a breathtaking display of ancient Sikh martial arts (Gatka) which has been mastered and perfected in warfare for more than 200 years.
Jaspal said: “It’s going to be quite good, we have the usual attractions and some different ones as well this year. We have brought back the Sikh martial arts display which should be a lot of fun.
“I think that’s going to be the main attraction.
“We are expecting it to be a nice day although the weather is a bit iffy and we are expecting a similar number of people to turn out as the last 10 years.
“We have a very tight budget and we have gone into the reserves and we really do rely on people’s donations.”
As well as boasting an impressive set list for music and dance, there will also be plenty on offer at the activity zone with a fun session for couples to prove their turban-tying skills, an opportunity to learn how to cook easy, healthy, and authentic dishes with local leader Terri Rhind, Carrom Board workshops, Henna and Sari Tying, Tai Chi workshops and a cafe zone.
There will also be 100 elephants preparing to be decorated in the activities zone in a session led by Swindon Inter-Active Art Service.
There is no parking available at the Town Gardens or in the residential area and organisers recommend visitors park at the Wroughton Park and Ride and take the number 15 bus to Victoria Road and then the five minute walk to the gardens.
Visitors can also park around the Old Town in the public car parks or take the 12, 22, 71 and 72 buses to nearby stops.
For people with restricted mobility who hold a current blue badge there is limited parking in Quarry Road.
Admission is free but visitors are encouraged to donate at least £2 to help fund next year’s event.
For more information about Mela visit www.swindonmela.
com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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