Crawley International Mela Festival was established in 1989, running for many years in the grounds of the Hawth Theatre. It was the biggest community lead festival in Sussex, celebrating the diversity of Crawley and the surrounding areas.
We were invited to become involved in 2011, working with the festival committee and local Polish communities to program the first content from the recently arrived communities from Poland and neighbouring Eastern European countries. This was made possible with grants from the local borough council.
2012 saw the establishment of Crawley based community group Eastern Stream an umbrella organisation run by and representing some of the local Eastern European communities. They developed their own funding application and program for that years festival and continued to be involved in the festival until its final year in 2015. They also organised many separate cultural events within the local community.
We stayed involved with the International Mela Festival until it's final year in 2015. It was sadly cancelled in 2016, due to funding difficulties. During the time of our involvement, it was a real privilege to meet so many fantastic people, who helped create a very special community event, which included fantastic music and arts from the local communities and around the globe.
The festival always ran for 2 days over the weekend, usually in July, in the grounds of the Hawth Theatre, and in the Theatre itself. the final year 2015 it rained so much on the Sunday, all activities moved inside