ONE of Southampton’s biggest cultural celebrations has been cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Southampton Mela Festival is a long-standing summer highlight in city’s events calendar.

Now in its 39th year, it was expected to draw around 25,000 people from along the South coast.

The free “family festival” was to take place on Saturday, July 11 in Hoglands Park.

However, in line with government guidelines on COVID-19 and the safety of staff, audiences and artists the event has been cancelled.

Daily Echo:

Last year the event filled Hoglands Park with a fusion of music, dance and family activities, all of an “international flavour”.

The event is organised by Art Asia which “aspires to entertain and celebrate the universal appeal of South Asian arts”.

Daily Echo:

Posting on social media a spokesperson for Art Asia, said: “The safety and security of our staff, audiences and artists is of paramount importance and we take this responsibility very seriously. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and government directives on social gatherings, we have taken the decision to cancel the Southampton Mela 2020.”

Meanwhile, Eastleigh Mela, due to take place on July 19 and organised by the Asian Welfare and Cultural Association (AWCA) has been postponed.

A statement on the AWCA website says “we regret to announce that the 2020 Eastleigh Mela is postponed. We hope to relight the fire and return with our celebration of cultural fusion once this challenging time is over.