Watch: Families enjoy Big John’s Birmingham Mela at Cannon Hill Park
Cannon Hill Park is a full of colour and food this weekend for the Big John’s Birmingham Mela
As you walk past the Midlands Art Centre, you witness the huge crowds arriving at Cannon Hill Park for the Big John’s Birmingham Mela – a mega celebration of South Asian culture. As you make your way in through security, you are welcomed with the smell of kebabs, street food like samosa chaat, and more. Whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat-eater, the options are unlimited.
Right at the beginning, you realise that this two-day weekend celebration is full of colour and the energy of the place will carry you through the week. Families sat on picnic tables feasting on plates of foods that you would have to go to a kebab or curry place to get. They laugh, giggle, and groove together to music from South Asian artists like Juggy D and Bilal Saeed.
One couple – who have been to Big John’s Mela in Leicester – came to Birmingham to watch Saeed perform. He is a Pakistani singer and composer boasting of 1.2 million followers on Instagram. After last evening, it would have grown manifold as Brummie South Asians packed themselves before the stage to listen to him perform.
Juggy D, who has been famous for the last 20 years, and whose tunes are known to many in their 30s now, also pulled a huge crowd. He thanked BBC Asian Network for helping his career along.
Many young festival-goers were excited to have the mela back after three years. Some of them have been coming for years – first, with their families and now, with their group of friends. Young men and women in ethnic clothes – dressed in their best – would have given a run for their money to actresses and models of South Asia.
Parents with young children manouvered the strollers around as they tried to have a fun day outdoors and the great weather was a definite plus. For older children, there were loads of activities like bouncy castles and zorbing.
Local boutiques had set up shops and the range of clothing available at discounted prices made women flock to the stalls to top up their already incredible collection of clothes.
The mela – which means fair in Hindi and Urdu – was reminiscent of Eid and Diwali fairs in South Asia. Large crowds would make way to these celebrations of community and unity after their private religious celebrations at home. Families would spend time together unemcumbered by work for a few days as relatives gather together to enjoy time with the pack.
The festival is ongoing until 8pm on Sunday 21 August and is located in Cannon Hill Park. Parking is an issue since it’s limited. It is ideal to travel on public transport, and don’t forget to keep the park clean.
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