PCM at Light up Lancaster 2021

Date: Friday 5th November Light Up Festival and Saturday 6th Cultural Programme 

Location: Lancaster City Centre 

Number of Commissions: 10

Number of Artists;26


Contact: Julie Brown – Artistic Director 

The Light Up Lancaster programme provided Preston City Mela with an opportunity to contribute to this programme of light, especially as its just day after the Diwali Festival. With the Lancaster theme ‘Flights of Imagination’ and Diwali Festival of light was a great combination to show case South Asian arts heritage associated with light and Diwali.

The Mela contributions consisted on performing artists on the Friday night of the festival for ‘Light Up Lancaster’. These included:

  • Violinist Radhika and Gayatri
  • Abhinandana MK Dance 
  • Anpa Beat Dhol Players 
  • Bhangra dancers with Dhol Players 

 The Mela dancers presented special performances based on the theme of light in Colourful costumes, Vibrant light up props and foot tapping music to complement their dance performance and to highlight this year’s theme ‘Flights of imagination’. 

The dance feature includes audience participation where the audience will be taught a few simple dances moves and they will be encouraged to dance along with the professionals. This was followed by Dhol players, Bhangra dancers and violinists 

“The performance by Preston Mela was truly crowd-drawing. The audience couldn’t get enough! The dancers were mesmerising with most of the onlookers boogying along. When the drumming underscored the dancing, the Mela’s performance really shone.”

Elsbeth Dale

Image by Robin Zahler

It was fantastic to have the artists from Preston Mela as an integral part of Light Up Lancaster Festival 2021. Taking their creative spark from this year’s theme of Flights of the Imagination, they ‘handed over the light’ from Diwali, burning the gift of their beautiful and inclusive arts to share with the people of Lancaster. 

The performances on the Friday evening of the event were a real triumph enjoyed by hundreds of festivalgoers who were thoroughly engaged throughout. 

The Art Fair on the Saturday in the city centre, brought a taste of South Asian art and crafts to families. The work was of very high quality and the workshop leaders were excellent at engaging people and encouraging them to be creative. 

Across the weekend of the festival, hundreds of people saw or took part in an arts activity celebrating South Asian cultural heritage. Lancaster is demographically the least culturally diverse district in Lancashire County, and many of the people who took part were engaging in something like this for the first time.

This is the first step in a new partnership between Light Up Lancaster and Preston Mela, and one which I hope will go from strength to strength.

Julie Brown, Artistic Director, Light Up Lancaster

On the Saturday 7 Mela workshops across the City Centre sites took part with session on arts which reflected the Diwali theme. 

  • ArteeCraft Traditional Rangoli Shreya Ghodke
  • ArteeCraft Paper Lantern making Tapasvi Trivedi
  • ArteeCraft Terracotta Diya Decoration -Rakesh Ghodke
  • Chatting Chimers – Chain Stitch Embroidery – Farhana Patel  
  • Ebru Marbling – Banu Adam  
  • Henna Artist 1 Yogini Patel
  • Henna Artist 2 Bhagya Reddy

I think it’s such a good set up of work that you’ve got here I love the variety of workshops you got well done you.

Olivia Marsh

We live close Lancaster we popped into town today  and we’ve had such an amazing surprise find all these brilliant arts and crafts, my children got into different ideas and it’s brilliant thank you.


Image by Robin Zahler

My children have had a wonderful time at the Torchlight my daughters had a henna tattoo on her hand and my son has been working on some woodblock printing and they both really enjoyed getting engaged in the activities. All of the people providing the activities thanks million for on what they’re doing and it’s great for the children to be able to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do and learn something about different culture, and they really enjoyed it I think thank you so much.

Clare LA6 1PT

I’m a student from Lancaster University and I just found out about the Mela, came to the town and it is just amazing I never expected it and the activities you’re a really nice and I’m waiting for it next year.