On Wednesday 7 July, over 500 children from 9 local primary schools took part in the Tunbridge Wells Schools Mela Schools Parade to officially launch the Mela celebrations. Carrying art pieces that represent diversity and a range of cultures, the children were led by Bloco Fogo the popular Samba Group, Uzambezi African Drummers and Dhol Drummers from Cultural Beats all of whom are Kent based artists.

The art pieces that were carried in the parade had been created by the children during visual art workshops at their schools in conjunction with the renowned arts company Samesky.

The parade commenced at just after 10.30am in the precinct. The children then went through the Town Centre before finishing at Calverley Grounds where they listened to speeches and watched Bloco Fogo, Cultural Beats and Uzambezi perform. The launch event gave a taster of what spectators can expect to see at the Mela on Sunday 18 July.

Gurvinder Sandher the Director of Cohesion Plus who organised Parade said” This is our biggest Mela Parade to date in Kent and we are very grateful to our partners Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Arts Council England and the Local Children’s Services Partnership for all their help and support in making it possible. The Mela is a great way for the communities of the borough to come together and enjoy music and dance from around the world and celebrate the positive community cohesion which exists in Tunbridge Wells”

The Schools that participated in the Tunbridge Wells Mela Schools Parade were: Southborough, Bishops Down, St Johns, St Matthews, Claremont, Rusthall, St Peters, St Barnabas and St Augustines.

To view more photos please click here – http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/kent/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8789000/8789292.stm

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