Largest Bengali New Year celebration outside Bangladesh brings big-name acts to Tower Hamlets

Plans for the largest celebration of Bengali New Year outside of Bangladesh, including top music acts and family fun, have been revealed.

The A Baishakhi Mela in Weavers Fields and Brick Lane has previously drawn more than 100,000 visitors from across the country and this year’s festival on May 8 promises to be just as busy.

R & B artist Mumzy Stranger, folk singer Kala Miah and a glittering parade celebrating Bangladeshi life will draw the crowds after Tower Hamlets council announced its plans.

Revellers have the chance to listen to the best of Bengali-inspired music from a mix of international and UK-based artists on the festival’s main stage, hosted by MCs Ronnie Mirza and Mahbub Hussain from the BBC Asian Network.

Headline acts include Baby Naznin and folk singers Baul Anu Sharker, Mriganka Goswami and Shahana Akter.

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Junai Kaden and SH8T will perform alongside local artists including popular folk singers Hashi Rani Sunayan Choudhury and Rowshanara Moni.

Heralding the start of the mela and the fortieth anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh will be the parade featuring a miniature Shaheed Minar monument and a celebration of a traditional Bengali wedding, starting from Buxton Street at 11.30am and ending at Weavers Fields.

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There will be a family zone on the day and arts and crafts workshops led by Emergency Exit Arts who will help participants to design masks.

The arts group will also be holding circus skills workshops including stilt walking, diabolo and plate spinning and the Tamarind Theatre Company will present interactive storytelling sessions.

Those keen on sports activities, leisure company GLL are organising inflatable junior football and basketball shoot-outs among other events while shopaholics can enjoy a Mela Market in Allen Gardens.

The festival starts at noon.

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