REVIEW – Edinburgh Mela, Leith Links

Edinburgh Mela Shines Again for 2010

Cargo 2010

Edinburgh Spotlight checked out the Edinburgh Mela today at its new permanent home of Leith Links.  Now in its 16th year, and having outgrown its previous home of Pilrig Park, the Mela’s new home at Leith Links is ideal – there is far more space now for dedicated areas and for people to enjoy what the festival has to offer, surrounded by abundant green space. Last year the Mela attracted 25,000 people.

Enjoying mela

With a packed programme for all the family, from the 6th-8th August, the Mela kicked off on Friday night with a preview of the impressive large-scale outdoor performance, CARGO. We caught part of the afternoon show today and were intrigued by what we saw – a fascinating show exploring the universal need to migrate: with unique representations of a world at sea, with quirky props, water, pyrotechnic effects and live music, it mesmerised viewers who ranged from toddlers to seniors. Performances are repeated twice daily and then the show will move on to the Royal Botanic Gardens and eventually tour abroad.
The Mela is divided into three main spaces: The Big Top, for music and DJ slots, the Garden Stage for bands, and the Outdoor Space for circus, theatre and performances. There is also a a great variety of workshops for children, from storytelling to acrobatics. Local community organisations are on hand to offer information, with numerous stalls, and festival-goers can indulge in plenty of retail therapy, from clothes and shoes to music and crafts.
Food is always a big draw at the Mela and there are a great range of food stalls offering up all kinds of delicious South Asian fare, from curries, kebabs and stews to even Halal haggis dishes. We sampled some excellent chicken curry and chicken tikka with rice, garlic naan and spiced onions from the Mrs Unis stall.  The Pimms tent/beer garden was a popular place to sit and soak up the atmosphere on a sunny afternoon.

Patiala Pipe Band

Our favourites of the day included the incredible feats of the Jaipur Kawa Circus performers from Rajasthan, who wowed the audience with their acrobatics, the entertaining Patiala Pipe Band and of course, CARGO. We also loved the wildcat sculpture created by children from North Edinburgh, which was proving a hit with locals.

Jaipur Kawa Circus

We’d heartily recommend The Edinburgh Mela for a brilliant day out. At £2.50 for an adult day pass, with under-12’s going free, it’s great value. The Sunday programme runs from 12 noon to 9.15pm and will also include a range of sporting activities.

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