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London Mela 2017: Europe's largest South Asian festival returns to Gunnersbury Park for 15th annual event

Artists were joined on the main stage by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on Sunday (September 3)

More than 26,000 people descended on Gunnersbury Park on Sunday (September 3) for the 15th year of the London Mela festival.

The event, Europe's biggest festival of South Asian culture, included a range of music and dance performances and a wide variety of food.

Thousands of people watched performances from Desi Crew alongside Team B, British-Indian rapper Hard Kaur, Bhangra superstar Miss Pooja and British-Indian group Asian Dub Foundation.

They were joined on the main stage by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan , who introduced Hard Kaur's set in the afternoon.

He said: “I am proud that we've helped to make ZEE London Mela even bigger and better this year.

“It's events like this taking place in all corners of the city, that showcased London at its diverse, lively and open best.”

Sadiq Khan made a visit to London Mela(Image: Victor Frankowski)

Forty performances took place on four different stages, with further highlights including a homecoming for former Hounslow resident, now New York-based Bhangra-hip hop MC, DJ Rekha.

DJ collective Panjabi Hit Squad also performed on the BBC Asian Network Stage, on top of a vibrant and colourful display of Bharatanatyam dance by The Bhavan & IIW on the Love to Dance stage.

The Mela came to a close with an incredible display of aerial percussion from Transe Express and East London’s Dhol Academy, with the help of a 100ft crane, before a spectacular fireworks display.

Artists were suspended from a 100ft crane above the audience(Image: Victor Frankowski)

Ajay Chhabra, ZEE London Mela's artistic director, spoke following the festival.

"Our 15th-anniversary festival has been our best yet,” he said.

“The range of artists across four brilliantly distinctive stages, and our Magic Mela family area, has transformed the ZEE London Mela into a completely unique festival celebrating the very best of what London has to offer.

“At a time when London needs spaces for communities to come together, the London Mela becomes an important cultural event as well as a wonderful feast of entertainment.”

Large crowds gathered at the BBC Asia stage(Image: Victor Frankowski)

The next stop for the ZEE London Mela is Croydon on 30 September for another display of the capital’s best music and culture.

London Mela is sponsored by ZEE TV and is supported by the Mayor of London , Arts Council England and Ealing Council .

Mela is a Sanskrit word meaning 'to meet', which is used to describe all sorts of community celebrations and festivals in the Asian subcontinent.

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