The Midlands is hosting a number of big mela events over the summer - and they'll attract crowds of thousands, some even bigger than mela events in London.
The word mela means "gathering" or to meet at a "fair". It has origins in South Indian communities, and mela events are now a huge part of summer festivities in the UK. The Midlands is home to some of the country's biggest mela events, including the Sandwell and Birmingham event, which hosted more than a hundred thousand people in 2012, many of whom came to see the Olympic Torch.
So what can you expect at a mela ? Well they're open to all. It's usually free entry and the chance to see big stars from the fields of live music, dance, TV, film, entertainment, comedy, and local community talent shows.
Hundreds of stalls offering the best of local cuisine are also prominent, along with art exhibitions, community showcases and the good old fun-fair.
Music artists including Malkit Singh MBE and Shin from legendary bhangra band DCS, who are both from Birmingham, and Nottingham-based San2 are among the Midlands-based stars performing before big crowds in the region over the summer.
Click here to hear singer Shin speaking to ITV News Central last year, about how Bollywood has influenced British pioneers of bhangra.
Click here to hear Nottingham artist San2 speaking to ITV News Central last year at one of the Asian music calendar's biggest awards nights, held in Birmingham.
More than 90 thousand samosas were eaten at last year's event at Victoria Park alone. At this year's events across the Midlands in total, that figure is expected to top the 200,000 mark. Hundreds of specialist stalls will also be on display at each event, alongside community talent shows aimed at showcasing the best each area has to offer.
Mela events confirmed so far for the Midlands across the summer include:
- BIRMINGHAM: Sandwell and Birmingham Mela (Victoria Park, Smethwick, Saturday 5th July and Sunday 6th July)
- LINCOLNSHIRE: Multicultural Mela 2014 (Meridian Park, Sunday 3rd August)
- LEICESTERSHIRE: Loughborough Mela (Loughborough Town Centre, Sunday 17th August)
- LEICESTER: Leicester Mela (Leicester Town Centre, Bank Holiday Monday 25th August)
- NOTTINGHAM: Nottingham Mela Weekender (New Art Exchange, Saturday 30th August and Victoria Embankment, Riverside on Sunday 31st August)
- Know of a Midlands Mela event also happening this summer ? Tweet me the details: @tejinderITV
Click here to get a flavour of festivities at last year's mela in Leicester. It featured singer H Dhami, who's from London, delighting Midlands crowds. Expect more of the same at this year's events across the region !