EDINBURGH MELA'S FESTE OF THE BEST
Every year, something in the region of 27,000 people gather in Leith for a weekend celebration of Edinburgh's many different cultures. The Edinburgh Mela provides a happy family day out with its busy line-up of music and dance, complemented by crafts stalls, children's activities and a global food village.
In 2012, the festival on Leith Links is upping its game even further. As well as continuing with the activities that have made the event such a hit, new director Chris Purnell has introduced the Mela World Dance Feste, a major platform for the most exciting Scottish dance artists with multicultural backgrounds.
The dance programme is characterised by bright, entertaining work that draws on world cultures in a modern and accessible way. A case in point is House, a blend of parkour skills, dance and multimedia visuals, featuring Adura Onashile, one of the actors in the Olivier Award-winning Roadkill.
Other highlights include Rama & Sita by Dance Ihayami and Walk the Plank, combining puppetry, pyrotechnics and Indian dance; Rock-a-bye B-Boy in which Edinburgh's breakdance world champion Tony Mills hooks up with the breakdancers of Random Aspekts for some awe-inspiring athleticism; and Taxi! in which Avant Garde Dance uses a black cab to show off its street theatre, hip hop and parkour skills.
There is also Chinese dance, tango, belly dancing, not to mention the packed programme of top bands from Brooklyn, Nepal, Pakistan and elsewhere.
"The Mela has world-class music and performance, a wonderful, vibrant family atmosphere and some amazing food, all on one site, and people have really taken it to their hearts," says Purnell. "This year, we're going to pay back that love by putting on an utterly spectacular experience. It's our most ambitious line-up ever; we're really going to open people's eyes, and set out our plans for an even bigger and better future."
Edinburgh Mela, 31 August–2 September, www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk