Edinburgh Mela

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Former Mela Festival Logo

The Edinburgh Mela is an annual multi-cultural festival held in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is one of the 12 festivals that make up the Edinburgh Festival. The first mela, a Sanskrit word meaning "gathering" or "to meet", was held in 1995 at Meadowbank Stadium, and was organised by members of the city's minority ethnic communities. The festival moved to Pilrig Park in 2000, and to Leith Links in 2010.[1] Running over three days in September, the event attracts around 20 to 25,000 people each year.[2]

Outdoor Theatre at Edinburgh Mela
Children and Families at Edinburgh Mela
Edinburgh Mela
Fashion at Edinburgh Mela


Origins of the Mela[edit]

Melas are south Asian events which have spread around the world from the south Asian subcontinent. Mela means 'gathering' and can describe festival, market, trade event, religious gathering and more. Melas are celebrated with music, dance, theatre, fashion, food and stalls. Melas are distinguished by their bringing together of south Asian cultures and those of other countries when promoted by south Asian Diasporas abroad. Melas first came to Britain in the late eighties.

Mela in Edinburgh[edit]

In 1995 people from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and other traditions of the sub-continent established a mela in Edinburgh. Chinese, African, and other groups were also involved. The first festival was held in Meadowbank Stadium, London Road, Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Mela Company formed in 1996.

The Board of Directors[edit]

Artistic Directors[edit]

  • Chris Purnell 2011–present
  • Stephen Stenning 2010 - 2011
  • Liam Sinclair 2007 - 2010
  • Jazz Singh 2005 - 2006


Music Stages[edit]

One of the main attractions of this festival is its concerts and shows. There are 3 main stages: 2 are outdoors, offering headline shows like music and dance performances.




Most of the food tents offers drinks too, but there are also dedicated bars serving beers, spirits, and soft drinks throughout the day.[5]


A selection of stalls selling the traditional dress, jewelry, and hand-made products from different countries around the world.


The kids’ area is divided in two. On one side attractions often include trampolines and bouncy castles. On the other, free activities for children.[6]


  1. ^ "Edinburgh Mela programme unveiled". BBC News. 29 June 2010.
  2. ^ Allan, Tom (29 June 2010). "Edinburgh Mela programme launched on Leith Links". The Guardian. London.
  3. ^ "Who We Are - Edinburgh Mela". Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Food | Edinburgh Mela". Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Edinburgh Mela 2013 | Bar 4 Hire | Bar4Hire". Archived from the original on 5 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Mela Kidzone | Edinburgh Mela". Archived from the original on 1 October 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013.