Festivals bring together people of different backgrounds and all walks of life, and we are committed to doing everything we can to promote a culture of inclusion and accessibility for all of our attendees.
Our goal is to provide accessible services, delivered in a way that respects the needs of each individual and does not exclude anyone, which is why we are currently creating new accessibility guidelines for our festival in partnership with Thrive and University of aTypical. These guidelines will launch in 2024. Contact us here to let us know your views and help us shape our future audience experience.
For the 2023, we have the following arrangements in place for access requirements:
Mela Carnival takes place across Belfast City Centre, and in the grounds of City Hall, with the following arrangements in place:
- The carnival parade will leave from Writers Square at 12.30pm, and journey up Royal Avenue ending at City Hall. The best viewing point is along Royal Avenue. Find out more about the route here
- Accessible toilets will be available during the event, located outside City Hall and within the building itself.
- There are disabled parking bays within the central courtyard at City Hall for those attending the event. However, these are limited and need to be booked in advance by contacting us here
- Guide dogs are welcome at City Hall, but should be kept on a lead.
- City Hall is a breastfeeding friendly venue.
Mela Colours & Mela Day
Mela Colours and Mela Day take place outdoors at Botanic Gardens, with the following arrangements:
- Blue badge holders who require a care assistant, will receive a 2 for 1 ticket entry. Please contact us at [email protected] to arrange this in advance.
- Parking is available for blue badge holders at the McClay Library Car Park on Botanic Avenue, on a first come, first served basis
- On entry, blue badge holders with mobility issues will not be required to queue and can enter on showing pass to security at gate.
- Wheelchair users are reminded the main viewing areas for the event are on grass which are accessible via tarmac pathways. All marquees are accessible via wheelchair ramps.
- Neurodiverse attendees can visit relaxed zones in the park, including the Colour Chill Zone for Mela Colours, and the World of Wellbeing for Mela Day.
- Accessible toilets will be available during both events, located on the east walkway of the park.
- Guide dogs are welcome at both events, but should be kept on a lead.
- We are breastfeeding friendly event and there are private baby areas to facilitate changing and breastfeeding.
- We currently do not have any provision for BSL/ISL interpretation, but this is a facility we hope to introduce in the future.
Our extended programme takes place in various venues across the city each of which have their own access policy. You can find out more about access for our festivals venue by visiting their websites, which are linked below:
- Botanic Gardens
- City Hall
- St Anne’s Cathedral
- Queen Street Studios
- Belfast Empire Music Hall
- Lady of the Lagan