Published: 20:29, 20 September 2021
| Updated: 14:28, 21 September 2021
A festival returned to Mote Park after a six year absence and was enjoyed by more than 3,000 people.
Taking place at Maidstone Community Mela on Sunday the free festival offered an array of diverse talent showcasing arts from around the globe including Bloco Fogo Samba and Reel Eire Irish Dance.
The stage programme offered performances from the Kings of Dhol who fused songs from east and west with their traditional drums grime artists GTown Talents and Square Peg Arts - the award winning local charity who work with children and adults with learning disabilities.
They were joined by other Maidstone based groups including the Kerala Culture Association who performed dances from South West India.
The Maidstone Malayalee also performed a series of Malayalam dance pieces also from Kerala; they were followed by the ever popular Maidstone Nepalese Community Group.
One of the highlights was the Cohesion Plus produced Folkin Fusion Collective which featured Uzambezi Arts and Four by Four Bhangra.
The performance fused music and dance from southern Africa and northern India and had everyone up and dancing during the interactive show.
The Mela, funded by Arts Council England, Maidstone Borough Council, Unison and Kent Equality Cohesion Council, was headlined by Bollywood Brass Band.
They wowed audiences with their dynamic interpretations of popular Bollywood hits.
Produced by arts organisation Cohesion Plus, they worked in partnership with the Maidstone Cultural Group and the Maidstone Mela Advisory Group to organise the day.
Off stage there was a mouthwatering selection of world foods on offer including Indian, Chinese, Nepalese and Caribbean cuisine, as well as burger and chips and ice cream.
There were also free art workshops for children as well as a range of charity and community stalls including Victim Support, Kent Police, Adult Education, UNISON, Involve Kent and the Maidstone Dawn Patrol Rotary Club.
Cllr Fay Gooch, Mayor of Maidstone was in attendance along with the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Bill Cockcroft DL and Cllr Martin Round Chair of Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee.
The trio spoke from the stage about how pleased they were to see the Mela back in Mote Park after a six year absence and the importance of having events like the festival in the borough.
Gurvinder Sandher, the Mela producer, said: “I have been involved with the Mela since we started it in 2003.
"I am so proud that working with community partners and Maidstone Borough Council that we were able to produce a positive event which showcased the diversity of Maidstone.
"It was wonderful to get a lot of positive comments on the day, for many audience members it was their first big outdoor event they had attended since the start of the pandemic which is a great testament to the appeal of the Mela.
"A date for next year has already been secured and fundraising permitting I look forward to building upon what we have learnt this year to put on an even bigger event next year.
"I always said that one day we would get the Mela back to Mote Park and we did it.”