by LAUREN CODLING
Mayor Sadiq Khan said the London Mela was the perfect antidote after a “horrible summer” when the city endured two terrorist attacks and Grenfell Tower fire.
The South Asian festival celebrated its 15th year with a host of Asian musicians, dancers, and DJs across four major stages, including the BBC Asian Network Stage.
Acts such as New Delhi-based band The Ska Vengers, Bhangra group Desi Crew, rapper Hard Kaur and Indian singer Miss Pooja featured at the event, which took place in Gunnersbury Park, west London, last Sunday (3).
Khan told Eastern Eye that the mela represented the “best of London” after the terror attacks at Westminster and London Bridge and the Grenfell inferno.
Khan said: “We’ve had a horrible summer as a city, but we’ve bounced back. We don’t moan about the circumstances that are thrown at us,” Khan said, “We are resilient, we celebrate the best of each other.
“The great thing about London is that residents don’t just tolerate difference; they embrace and celebrate it.
Regarding the success of the #LondonIsOpen campaign, Khan explained it is vital that London continues to be a city which welcomes all communities.
“I think it’s been really important over the last 14-15 months since Brexit to remind people around the world that we aren’t going to stop being open-minded and open to talent, business and new partnerships,” he added.
“As long as I am mayor, London is going to be open to the London Mela.”
Director Gurinder Chadha, whose film Viceroy’s House has recently been released, was also in attendance at the event, She told Eastern Eye: “[I grew] up here in this neighborhood in Ealing and we didn’t have this sort of stuff when I was young.
“It’s great for me to see musicians, dancers, and storytellers from the Asian diaspora, from the Indian diaspora, performing. It is very culturally enriching.”
As well as music, a variety of ethnic foods were available for visitors to enjoy. Traditional food from south Asia was on offer, as well as international market stalls and a fun fair. The event ended at 9:30 pm, complete with an extravagant firework display for families to enjoy.