|Revellers flock to record breaking Bengali New Year celebrations!
Thousands of revellers from across the country and beyond celebrated the Bengali New Year in style in Tower Hamlets on Sunday 8th May.
Organised by Tower Hamlets Council, A Baishakhi Mela in Banglatown Brick Lane attracted a record breaking 120,000 revellers to the festivities, the largest celebration of the Bengali New Year outside of Bangladesh.
As the temperature rose, so did the crowd numbers as people poured into Weavers Fields, Allen Gardens and Brick Lane for seven hours of music, dancing and fun in the sun.
The celebrations kicked off with a spectacular procession from Buxton Street featuring aspects of Bangladeshi life. From the poignant reminder of the struggle for change through the miniature Shaheed Minar monument, to a celebration of the joyous occasion that is a traditional Bengali wedding.
Accompanying the procession was radio station Betar Bangla churning out summer tunes from the back of a rickshaw.
School children, community groups and residents took part in the procession with crowds cheering them on as they made their way to the main site in Weavers Field.
Once the procession arrived at Weavers Fields, all eyes turned to the main stage where the biggest names in Bengali music took to the stage.
Baby Naznin, Kala Miah, Shahana Akter and Mumzy Stranger were just a handful of stars who put on blistering performances in the scorching heat.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said:
"The Mela was a great success and I was really pleased to see so many people attend. The success is down to the hard work of staff and support from the community. I am already looking forward to next year's Mela."
The Mela Family Zone also attracted a lot of visitors with its focus on health and well being. Together with GLL, the council's leisure operators, there were lots of family friendly activities on offer in the family zone, as well as advice about how families can be healthier.
BRAC (Vision Bangladesh) were the official charity supporting the Mela who collected donations on the day to support poor families in Bangladesh needing cataract operations.
Rebecca Ramsay-Smith from Wapping was keen to support the local acts performing in Allen Gardens. She said: "This is the first time I have been to the Mela and have been really impressed. Loving the dancing!"
Mishty Gain from Newham added: "I have been coming to the Mela for years and it just gets better and better. There is always a great atmosphere and it is family friendly."