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The 18th edition of South Asian culture-fest, London Mela will be held online and virtually for the first time ever on 7-8 November 2020. Founders Ajay Chhabra and Julian Rudd reinvent the much-loved festival as a digital and virtual reality event; Melatopia, featuring South Asian music, dance, food, and culture for a one-of-a-kind festival experience within an immersive VR experience in Sansar.

Usually performed at the festival’s home in Southall Park, London Mela organisers have embraced the digital realm with the first Virtual Reality Mela ever staged, to keep everyone safe during COVID 19.

The award-winning event’s partners Nutkhut, Mela Partnership and Remarkable Productions join forces with Shangri-La’s Lost Horizon Festival to create a new online virtual reality venue, MELATOPIA, which is built using Sansar, Wookey Technologies’ cutting-edge, photorealistic platform for virtual live events and can be experienced on PC, VR or mobile (iOS), plus will be streamed live on Twitch and across social media.

Audiences will be able to experience live artists, dance performances and DJs in an extraordinary VR online space specially created for the Mela. Whether viewed on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or wearing VR glasses, audiences will be able to engage with the performances and each other in new and innovative ways. Viewers are encouraged to book 7/8 November out in their diaries and invite friends and family to an online watch party. COVID 19 has stopped audiences visiting the Mela in London, so the London Mela will come to them wherever they are in our great city and wherever they are in the world.

The London Mela is best known for its adventurous programming and genre-crossing collaborations from an incredible mix of household names and contemporary artists. This year will be no different with US/Indian rapper The Raja Kumari headlining the show. In support we have an incredible collaboration between Juggy D and Pandit Ram Sahai Sangeet Vidhyalaya (PRSSV), 5 Tabla players from Singh Sabha Southall Education Centre in Southall.

Pop sensation and BBC Future Music Artist Celina Sharma features as well as Roma Sagar and Rio Jai. Punjabi Hit Squad promise to get the audience jumping around their front rooms with a barnstorming set. No Mela is complete without qawwali and the Mela is proud to present Chand Ali Khan, one of the UK’s most exciting qawwali talents, complete with 7-piece live band. Rounding of this first announcement, London Mela presents the legendary Punjabi MC, producer of the seminal Mundian To Bach Ke, possibly the greatest crossover dance tune from the South Asian diaspora.

All artists featured in Melatopia will be recorded exclusively for the event.

Ajay Chhabra, Artistic Director, Melatopia said: 

“When a global diaspora meets new technology, change happens, The South Asian presence in Silicon Valley is completely engaged with Mela and Melatopia is our way of bringing people together in a time of isolation. Change creates challenging new opportunities. With so much change occurring all around us, from the very personal loss of loved ones to the major change artists and communities are facing the world over. Melatopia is our way to keep fearless ambition alive, to be bold, to take risks and to create a new platform for what we know best, the coming together of community and artists to create a new utopia, Melatopia! The South Asian Diaspora is international, with a footprint on every major continent, in every major city globally - In a time of isolation, Melatopia is an exciting new opportunity to bring this international diaspora of people together, by using new technology and cross arts form connections, to a new and intergenerational audience.” 

 Julian Rudd, London Mela Producer said: 

“Remarkable Productions is really excited to be working at the coalface of digital, VR and online festival production with such impressive partners, this really is a historic partnership that circles the world, starting in London then onwards to Silicon Valley, LA and San Francisco through to Mumbai and  Delhi in India, Lahore in Pakistan and right around the global Desi Diaspora back to London again. In these dark days for artists around the world, Melatopia represents hope and opportunity - that there is a future for our sector. We are proud to present Melatopia, alongside Nutkhut and Mela Partnership: the world’s first truly global VR Mela festival of Desi Culture.” 

Chris Macmeikan MBE, Lost Horizon said: 

“We want to build festivals that the whole world can attend. In July of this year, our innovative work with VR and streaming at Lost Horizons attracted over 4m people from over 100 countries. That is why we are so excited that our second project is with London Mela. London Mela is already a hub to the entire Asian Diaspora. Now, we will create the world’s first Global Mela together.”

Sheri Bryant, President of Sansar said:    

“Sansar is incredibly proud to introduce VR, PC, and mobile audiences to this immersive Mela Festival of Desi culture.  With our partnership with Lost Horizon and now London Mela, we look forward to delivering art, community, and joy all rolled together into one amazing virtual festival the entire world can enjoy.”

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27 Nov 2020

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  • How an imaginary grandmother got millions of Spotify streams (see Features)

26 Nov 2020

  • Universal Music UK launches 0207 Def Jam (see Business)

  • Jackie Davidson and Peter Thoms elected as PPL Performer Directors (see News)

  • Guy Garvey and Crispin Hunt talk about the 'music streaming scandal' (see Features)

24 Nov 2020

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  • Government issues Winter Plan, but concerns raised for grassroots venues (see News)

  • SoundCloud reports strong growth for 2019 (see Business)

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23 Nov 2020

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  • Amazon Music announces 'Ones to Watch 2021' list (see Digital)

20 Nov 2020

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  • Should the BBC have censored Fairytale of New York? (see Opinion)

19 Nov 2020

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17 Nov 2020

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16 Nov 2020

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13 Nov 2020

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12 Nov 2020

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  • Composer Howard Goodall on post-Brexit touring in the EU (see Analysis)