Belfast Mela 2022: Festival to return bigger and better than ever for first time in two years

The major cultural festival known as the Belfast Mela is returning returns to Botanic Gardens with an “amazing” line-up of global music, dance, art, theatre, wellbeing and food after a two year pandemic break.

Organisers say this year’s event, the 16th since it began, will be the biggest ever, taking place over eight days and starting with a “spectacular” free carnival on Saturday 20 August through the streets of Belfast.

This will be accompanied by daily Mela Plus events across Belfast, leading up to the annual Mela Day extravaganza in Botanic Gardens on Sunday 28 August.

Nisha Tandon, OBE, Founder of Belfast Mela and Director of ArtsEkta said: “We are delighted to be back with our first full festival since the pandemic and our most ambitious programme to date including the long-awaited return to Botanic Gardens for our festival finale. From outdoor spectacles, late night music, pop up food events and walking tours, to exhibitions, wellbeing days, film screenings and theatre there is really something for everyone in what is now the biggest celebration of cultural diversity on the island of Ireland. We are so proud to have been working with hundreds of artists, thousands of participants and are looking forward to welcoming up to 60,000 attendees to events over eight days.”

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey joins preparations for the 2022 Belfast Mela - the first in two years due to the pandemic.

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    The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tina Black said she is thrilled that the “amazing diversity of colours, sounds and tastes of Belfast Mela will be returning to our beautiful Botanic Gardens on Sunday August 28”.

    She added: “It will be the perfect afternoon to round off the summer. We’re very proud supporters of the Belfast Mela’s organisers ArtsEkta because they do so much to unite our communities in celebration. We wish Nisha, her team and all the ArtsEkta partners the best of luck for their eight-day programme – and hope that everyone attending has a really wonderful time.”

    Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey said: “My Department has been proud to support the Mela over many years as it has grown into one of Belfast’s flagship festivals, providing a major platform for a wide variety of cultural groups to share their cultural identity with the thousands of people who attend each year.”

    Except for free carnival all Mela events must be booked online. See full programme at