The 13th edition of the Mela took place on the 25th August from 12noon-6pm at Botanic Gardens

Highlights of the 2019 festival included


  • A showstopping line up featuring mesmerising music from Dublin African Gospel Choir, Kakatsitsi Master Drummers, Anna’s Number, Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band and DCS Bhangra; dazzling dance displays from China, Mexico & India; cultural showcases from the local Russian, Bulgarian, Slovakian, Lithuanian and Polish communities; and an exciting mix of Celtic arts, language and traditional music from An Droichead.


  • Rhythms of the World tent where audiences delved deeper into the music, the moves, and the motivations of some of the amazing artists performing at the festival.  You’ll work alongside them, learn a new skill and hear their stories.  Throughout the festival you can have a go at anything from Ghanaian drumming to Chinese Fan dancing, from Hula Hooping to Punjabi Dhol Drumming.


  • Capturing the true taste of Northern Ireland, the festival’s new Artisan Pavilion had an emphasis on fresh food and produce, made by dedicated artisans who are passionate about what they do.


  • Young children experienced a theatre spectacle set in The Tropical Ravine bringing them on a  magical and mystical journey across the globe created by local storytellers from Place to Wonder


  • The World of Words Tipi celebrated voices, storytellers and creativity with inspiring stories from across the globe from international storytellers such as Peter Chand, Liz Weir, Nandi Jola and Joel Ben Izzy.


  • Audiences helped us complete our 50m piece of public art, called Silkscapes. In 2019, we teamed up with communities across the city to create stories based on the themes of home and belonging. At the Mela, audiences go the chance to put their own own stamp on it by working with expert silk painting artists in the eastern artform of Batik.


  • The highly anticipated  chilli eating competition returned in 2019 guaranteed to challenge even the most fiery food lovers.  The Mela Cookery Theatre also had tasty demonstrations from BUBA, The Cultured Club and our very own Mela Foodies!


  • Chinatown was set along the beautiful backdrop of the park’s Rose Garden. Audiences entered  through our special Chinatown gateway where an installation of traditional lanterns awaited them to epxlore the delights of China from traditional arts and crafts, street performances and food sampling presented by members of the Confucius Centre.


  • Our special tea emporium featured a long line up of tea-tastic activities for the young and old alike. Audiences got to experience tea leaf reading, crafts, traditional tea dances and take home some of the finest local tea.


  • The colourful spectacle of Belfast Mela makes for an enthralling day out for families. We had an amazing mix of activities on offer especially for youngsters. Culture Land is a magical area of enchantment and craft, sounds and dance, stories and art where young people can journey across the globe on an exploration of culture and traditions. And audiences got the chance to join our principal sponsors Sensata Technologies to delve into the wacky world of science as they present a special STEM Zone.


  • For a boogie with a difference, there was Little Bollywood. In a specially decorated marquee,  with early years facilitators leading children and their adults in music and dance sessions complete with a live DJ, décor and props.


  • Audiences also journeyed  with us into the park’s secret hidden forest and help us find the fairies living in the park. Along the magical Fairy Trail they spotted exquisite fairy homes hidden in the trees.

2021 Festival Snaps