Comment: Edinburgh Mela has been missed

The return of the Mela to Edinburgh's festivals calendar is great news.

Thursday, 10th August 2017, 7:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:32 am
The Mela is set to return to Leith Links. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Given the huge popularity of the event - which grew to attract 25,000 visitors to its most recent home on Leith Links - it was tempting to think it was only a matter of time before it came back. But that was never a foregone conclusion after the turmoil it plunged into ahead of last year’s event with its funding axed and the police and charity regulators called in to investigate complaints.

Thankfully it appears the festival has put those troubles behind it, with a new organising committee, including former Provost Lesley Hinds, at the helm.

The idea of staging a free festival this September in Leith Links is sure to prove hugely popular. It will be exciting to see what else the Mela comes up with in terms of community activities and events at other times of the year.

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Festivals like the Mela and the Fringe - and music and the arts in general - are great ways of bringing people from different backgrounds together. That’s something the Fringe is celebrating this year as it marks its 70th anniversary.

There are precious few genuinely multi-cultural events with the popular appeal of the Mela. We need more of them, not less. It’s return is worth celebrating.