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Mela returns: Belfast festival of cultural diversity to have new format amid pandemic

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Celebration: Chinese dancer Wei Hong, Belfast Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl, Bollywood dancer Koysalyaa and Nisha Tandon. Credit: Stephen Hamilton

Celebration: Chinese dancer Wei Hong, Belfast Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl, Bollywood dancer Koysalyaa and Nisha Tandon. Credit: Stephen Hamilton

Celebration: Chinese dancer Wei Hong, Belfast Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl, Bollywood dancer Koysalyaa and Nisha Tandon. Credit: Stephen Hamilton

Belfast Mela, Northern Ireland’s largest cultural diversity festival, returns with a fresh look on August 23.

Founder Nisha Tandon, who is director of ArtsEkta, said the 15th annual event will see a new format to respond to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.

"We have extended the festival over a full week providing opportunities for everyone across the city to take part and celebrate the magic of Mela in a safe and enjoyable way,” she said.

"Whilst we know many of you will miss our traditional festival at Botanic Gardens, we are sure you will find something that appeals to you with global music, dance, food, street theatre, tours and much more across the week.”

Highlights this year include a free ‘Mini Mela’ celebration on Saturday, August 28 (11am-5pm) across the city centre. UTV’s Paul Reilly and U105’s Carolyn Stewart will host a spectacular line-up of world music, dance and food live from Writers’ Square, while Cathedral Gardens will be transformed into Culture Land, a journey around the world for young children.

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