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The sunshine brings out 40,000 spectators for East End's Boishakhi Mela festival

PUBLISHED: 14:00 02 July 2019

Global pop sensation Imran is top act on stage at the packed Boishakhi Mela. Picture: Rehan Jamil

Global pop sensation Imran is top act on stage at the packed Boishakhi Mela. Picture: Rehan Jamil

© Rehan Jamil

An estimated 40,000 spectators turned up for the East End's annual Boishakhi Mela festival in Sunday's blazing sunshine.

Colourful traditional Bengali fashion at the Mela. Picture: Rehan JamilColourful traditional Bengali fashion at the Mela. Picture: Rehan Jamil

It had live music, dance, food and children's events at Weaver's Fields in Bethnal Green, but began with a colourful parade of floats meandering its way through the narrow Brick Lane.

The parade which included a giant tiger and a turtle was led through the streets to Weavers Field by the mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs.

The festival had the best of Bengali music performing live on stage, as well as displays art and culture.

Mayor John Biggs (cloth capped) leads Mela procession through the streets. Picture: Rehan JamilMayor John Biggs (cloth capped) leads Mela procession through the streets. Picture: Rehan Jamil

Headliners on stage included global pop sensation Imran, folk singer Lovely Deb and Belly Afroz with their energetic performances.

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Other performers included established favourites Alaur Rahman, Hashi Rani, Amir Muhammad and Suzanna Ansar, rising urban star Nish and internationally-acclaimed Naz and Bolly Flex.

Naz and Bolly Flex dancers on stage at the Mela. Picture: Rehan JamilNaz and Bolly Flex dancers on stage at the Mela. Picture: Rehan Jamil

Children had creative activities, storytelling, theatre, workshops, poetry, and a saree dressing up in the festival's family zone.

A 'mela marketplace' buzzed with gastronomical delights of multicultural Britain and colourful traditional clothes, handicrafts and toys on sale.

The mela is organised each year by Tower Hamlets council and has become a staple of the East End's summer calendar.

Cllr Sabina Akhtar, the council's cabinet member for culture and arts, said: "The Mela brings people from all backgrounds together and kick-starts our summer season of free activities for families."

Boishakhi Mela is claimed to be the biggest celebration of the Bengali New Year staged in Europe and anywhere outside south Asia.

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