Why all is not lost for Edinburgh’s Mela Festival – Steve Cardownie

IT is very sad to see that the once successful Mela Festival has been reduced to a shadow of its former self, even more so when you know that the wounds were self-inflicted.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 6:00 am
Cosmic Dance performed at this year's Mela. Picture: Ian Georgeson

From its humble beginnings in Meadowbank Stadium to its heyday at Leith Links, it has now turned the clock back and resembles the festival in its infancy rather than in its prime, which is a shame.

The fact that funding was withdrawn by the City Of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland came as no surprise to some of us who were previously involved.

Directors who proved that they were totally incapable of organising such a prestigious event and hounded an excellent artistic director, Chris Purnell, out of his job dragged the Mela down.

The former artistic director’s ruling in his favour at an Edinburgh Employment Tribunal speaks volumes about how this great festival met its fate – but all is not lost.

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My understanding is that the funding bodies, recognising the need for a new multi-cultural festival in Edinburgh, are actively examining ways of bridging the gap and seem determined to unveil a new venture soon.

If so, surely Leith Links is capable of providing a first-class venue – it did so before and can do so again.