Aberdeen Multicultural Centre created Aberdeen Mela to celebrate and promote the diversity of culture and community. Both within Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland. It’s a fantastic day out for the family. A chance to connect with the many cultures the city is home to.

Alongside the festivities and cultural exchange, the Mela also aims to promote more widespread awareness of global development issues. Organisers hope this motivates and inspires people to help create a more equitable world. And that it shows them how they can get involved.


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Back for the first time since 2019, Westburn Park in Aberdeen will host Aberdeen Mela from 12 noon to 7 pm. Acts ranging from Bhangra dancers and international choirs to Asian singers and traditional Scottish musicians will appear on different stages. The event will feature a variety of ethnic food stalls, crafts, clothes, information stalls, and loads of family activities.

We had a chat with Ahashan Habib the manager at Aberdeen Multicultural Centre about what they have planned for Aberdeen Mela this year.

For many visitors, this will be their first Aberdeen Mela. What can people expect when they arrive at Westburn Park on Sunday?

The Mela is the largest family fun day celebrating multiculturalism and diversity in the North East of Scotland. It’s a massive festival with over 10,000 people coming from as far as Edinburgh, Glasgow and even London to see over 100 performers on the main stage. We also have local acts that are just fantastic too!

Expect a feast for the eyes and the ears as we have food stalls sharing cuisine from around the globe, arts and crafts stalls, workshops and a funfair! You can come and stay the whole day as there’s always going to be something happening. This year we even have a Zumba class with Baila Venezuela from Edinburgh and a roaming stage whereby the acts will be performing across Westburn Park. They will be engaging with our audience and bringing a taste of Mela to them!

What acts will be on stage at Mela this year?

We have Gurusoundz coming from London who has performed at the Queen’s Garden Party and the Royal Albert Hall. This year we are having our first ever Mela Afterparty at the LemonTree. Guru Soundz aka Dj Sandyman will be spinning amazing Bollywood classics, to keep the Mela vibe going from 8-10pm. We also have RAAG Qawwali Group from London who are on a mission to bring the same Sufi Mysticism brought by the Sabri Brothers in the 20th century. They offer a very unique listening experience that is visceral. They have performed on BBC.

We also have Desi Braveheart from Glasgow, an amazing Bollywood/ fusion dance group that always gets people dancing! This year we will have Shashwati which focuses on two different dance forms. Mohiniyattam – an Indian classical dance form that developed and remained popular in the state of Kerala. And Bharatanatyam (the oldest classical dance tradition in India). Her outfit is incredible, with bells on her hands and feet, and brightly coloured make-up on the soles of her feet and hands too! She’s performed for the Scottish parliament and is definitely one to watch.

We will also have local Chinese communities and local groups like the Red Phoenix Dance Group and Yee’s Hung Ga, a martial arts group. Keep your eyes peeled for the dancing lion that will be roaming Westburn Park and get your picture taken!

For us, the highlight of Mela is the wide selection of food stalls. What will be on offer this year?

We have food from Portugal, India, classic British, ice cream, sweet stalls, candyfloss and much, much more!

I was lucky enough to be in Edinburgh for their Festival Carnival. It was a kaleidoscope of colour and sound. What benefits do you think multicultural festivals like this bring to Scottish cities?

We’re really excited to relaunch the Mela as culture can bring people together. Especially after the past two years as Covid has greatly impacted people’s mental health. So this Mela will bring a lot of joy to the community as there will be lots of different cultural activities and food. It’s just such a great family event. The festival is about celebrating our similarities and respecting our differences. Aberdeen is a real melting point of cultures and #AberdeenMela brings us all together to celebrate, dance, and eat good food. To take part in amazing workshops, learn about each other’s cultures and bring together and unite the city.

Music is a brilliant way for people to share their cultural backgrounds. How big a role does it play in Aberdeen Mela?

Music is essential for #AberdeenMela it goes beyond language and creates an atmosphere that transports you into another world. It really brings the feel-good vibes of Aberdeen Mela to Westburn Park.

It’s very much a family event, isn’t it? What will be on specifically for kids?

We have a funfair, ice cream, sweet stands, and workshops such as Chinese calligraphy throughout the day. People can come and learn a character that they can draw themselves and take home with them. There are Henna stalls too and the opportunity for children to drum with the Guarana drummers. They have always been a hit in previous Aberdeen Melas.

Aberdeen is a hugely multicultural city. Do you think there should be more opportunities to demonstrate this? What more could the city be doing to show its cultural diversity?

Togetherness is very important. People have very busy lives so we want to just bring them together for a big celebration and give everyone a flavour of all the different cultures. It’s very important to integrate in our multi-cultural environment and to know each other as that can bring true harmony to the city.

There should be more opportunities but we are hoping that Aberdeen Mela continues to be generously funded by our sponsors and partners such as Aberdeen city council, ACVO, Aberdeen Performing Arts, Instant Neighbour, the Elphinstone Institute, Event Scotland, Station House Media Unit, Aberdeen Lions and Aberdeen Multicultural Centre. It’s months of hard work but so worth it to see everyone smiling on the day. We hope we can continue to be the largest celebration of multiculturalism and diversity in the North East. We will also continue to support other festivals that are similarly uniting the city and bringing people together.

Brilliant, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Remind us about the date and times of this year’s Aberdeen Mela.

Aberdeen Mela takes place on Sunday 21st August at Westburn Park. We kick off at noon and party all the way through until 7 pm. Entry is FREE!


About POST

Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers. These are the people that make a positive impact on our city every day. So they use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community. And to ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes coverage of Spectra 2022, interviews with We Are Here Scotland founder Ica Headlam; Paralympic gold medalist, Neil Fachie; Aberdeen rapper Chef and his push for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton about the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen 2022 and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as coverage of British Art Show 9.

A great way to catch up with our work is by reading our 2021 Year in Review.