The annual Tunbridge Wells Mela Festival which is now in its 12th year takes place on July 9 at the Calverley Grounds between 12.30pm and 6.30pm. The Mela which is organised in partnership by Cohesion Plus and the Kent Equality Cohesion Council with the support of Arts Council England celebrates the diversity and cohesion of the borough through music, food and dance.

The Mela Festival promises to be a great free day out for the family. Highlights include stage performances by a range of leading culturally diverse artists with an international flavour including Tunbridge Wells very own Ukelear Fallout, The Paul Dunton Orchestra who will be joined by the nationally acclaimed Bollywood Brass Band, Reel Eire Irish Dance, Mumbai Vice, Bangladeshi pop star Nurjahan Shilpi and leading Bob Marley tribute act Tanni – L Browne. Other acts featured include the ever popular Four by Four Bhangra group and the Syrian All Stars – a collective of musicians, many of whom arrived in the UK under the refugee resettlement scheme.

The Cohesion Plus new production “Bhangrawood” will also be premiered on the stage which celebrates the UK-India Year of Culture and features Bollywood Brass Band and Four by Four Bhangra Group.

Alongside the exciting stage programme there is also going to be a creative arts zone where LV21 will be delivering workshops alongside local arts and crafts stalls. Another highlight will be the spectacular Heliosphere show. The Heliosphere is a processional spectacle involving an acrobat spinning and spiralling gracefully over Calverley Grounds on a harness whilst suspended from a huge clear hot air balloon.

Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus commented “We are very proud to have been involved with the Mela Festival since its inception. This year proves to be our biggest and most spectacular to date. The Mela Festival has evolved over the years and we place as much emphasis on the arts activity off stage as we do on the stage. I am particularly looking forward to welcoming the Heliosphere show which I believe will leave the audiences in awe. We also welcome for the first time the Syrian All Stars as well as the stage premier of our new production Bhangrawood. A lot of hard work has gone into putting the Mela Festival together and we hope the local community will come out to support as they have done in previous years.”