Maidstone Community Mela
Maidstone Community Mela
The Maidstone Community Mela celebrates the diversity of the County Town of Kent through music, food and dance, bringing diverse communities together through the arts and celebrating shared British values. The free festival has been running successfully since 2003 and has attracted thousands each year. Following the withdrawal of support by the local authority the name of the event was changed from Maidstone Mela to Maidstone Community Mela in 2017.
The Community Mela is now led by local arts organisation Cohesion Plus, local charity Kent Equality Cohesion Council and a team of volunteers from local community groups many of whom have been involved with the Mela since its inception.
Why are we Crowdfunding?
The Maidstone Community Mela is an independent festival which is organised by a small team at Cohesion Plus working with local volunteers. Since the withdrawal of financial support from the local authority the only way the Mela can take place is if we are able to raise the money ourselves. We have already invested a lot of time and effort to secure sponsorship and to generate income from stalls, but without this campaign being successful there is a real danger the Community Mela will not happen this year.
Whilst there are other festivals that take place in Maidstone, the Community Mela is unique in providing a platform for culturally diverse local artists and businesses which celebrates the diversity and cohesion of Maidstone.
We believe the Maidstone deserves a true community festival that the borough can be proud to call its own: a festival that's culturally diverse, unpretentious, affordable and fuelled by a love of music, the arts & the great outdoors.
Why is the Community Mela Important?
I’ve been involved with the Maidstone Mela since its inception in 2003 and have had the pleasure of watching it grow and evolve into an integral part of Maidstone’s event calendar. The Maidstone Mela has always been a premium family day out and a brilliant way to showcase the diversity and artistic excellence of the borough.
I believe the need for the Mela is more important than ever. In the aftermath of last year’s terror attacks it is vital that we do not allow extremists to cause division and tension within our community. The whole ethos of the Mela is to bring together the diverse communities of the borough to celebrate our shared British values, it is important at times like this; regardless of faith and background we stand together as one.
Plans for 2018
We are seeking to raise £5000 which will go towards the cost of the Community Mela for 2018 which is planned for July 22 in Whatman Park. The celebration will run between 12.30pm and 6pm and will consist of a day of culturally diverse music and dance, as well as street artists, activities for children along with food from around the World.
The total cost of the event will be in the region of £15,000 and we are seeking the balance through fundraising events, sponsors, income from stalls and contributions from partners.
The Maidstone Community Mela is a great example of how the arts can bring communities together. This event is unique to Maidstone and long may it continue.
Dev Sharma MBE, Chair of Kent Equality Cohesion Council
I had the great pleasure of performing at the Maidstone Community Mela last year. It was a great event and it was particularly special to see such a diverse crowd celebrating the festivities together.
Jassi Sidhu, International Bhangra Artist
We have performed at the Mela over many years and have had the pleasure of watching it grow in popularity to the extent that last year was one of the best so far. It’s an event that we encourage our families and friends to attend as its atmosphere is truly unique.
Four by Four Bhangra Group