MULTICULTURALISM is what Swindon is all about.

That was the message that Jas Bhui, one of the Swindon Mela’s organisers, had for the 25,000-strong crowd who gathered at Saturday’s event in the Town Gardens in Old Town.

He made the comments following the showcase stage’s Asian fashion show, in which more than 25 people, originating from numerous Asian countries, took part.

Organisers of the event said this year’s was the most inclusive, yet with people representing cultures not previously involved like Swindon’s Bangladeshi, Nepalese and Tamil communities among others.

“Even though the Swindon Mela lasts for only one day it has positive affects last all year,” said Mr Bhui. “The event allows people who may never come into contact with an Asian person otherwise to learn about our culture, and feel the friendliness and positive atmosphere.

“This event is not only fun but it also helps expand people’s knowledge about their fellow man. It builds equality amongst us all.

“We are trying to make Swindon a multicultural town in order to make this the best place in which all our children can grow up.

“More and more Swindon is becoming all about multiculturalism, and this event is helping to build that, long-live the Mela.”

Many others had similar comments about the biggest yet event which had food, visual arts, dance, music and, most importantly, some of the town’s numerous cultures.

Jim Winterton, 43, from the town centre, said he thought Swindon would benefit from more cultural events if they were as inclusive as the Mela.

He said: “From my understanding a Mela is a large gathering of people from all over that come together for one purpose, that purpose in Swindon was fun.

“I met up with very few attitudes, people are just here to have fun, and I think many British people are revelling in the chance to see something from outside the everyday thing.

“This allows us the benefit of witnessing what happens half way around the world without ever leaving home.”

Peter Grazinski, 34, from Stratton, said: “I love seeing all the different faces at the Mela, there is no other event in Swindon that has this many different colours, religions, ethnicities and cultures involved.

“I think Swindon is a more accepting place than it was 10 years ago, and if someone were to ask me whether I think the Mela has contributed to that I would say yes.

“I think it is certainly harder to begrudge people once you have learned about where they come from, why they do what they do and especially after spending an enjoyable afternoon partying with them.”