ONE of Southampton’s biggest cultural festivals has been pulled amid rising covid infections.
The Southampton Mela Festival draws thousands to the city centre in a celebration of South Asian culture.
Taking place each year in Hoglands Park the family event had been scheduled for August 21.
However, organisers, Art Asia, have been in talks with the city council concerning a recent spike in covid infections.
The festival has now been moved online.
A statement from Art Asia said: “Following discussions with our Board and with Southampton City Council regarding COVID-19 infections continuing to rise, it is with a heavy heart that we have taken the decision to reformat this year’s Mela.
“The safety of our artists and our community is of top priority, therefore our planned live event on 21st August will be replaced with an online Mela on 19th September alongside a whole host of smaller-scale participation events and workshops from 1st August right through to 23rd November, which will reflect the spirit and excitement of the Mela.
“We will be working closely with Southampton City Council events team on our smaller scale events and giving members of all Southampton’s communities a chance to take part or experience a little of what the Southampton Mela is known for over the last 20 years.
“Next year, we plan to return with the best Southampton Mela so far and celebrate together in our usual style.”
The last Southampton MELA took place on July 11, 2019.
In the past it has attracted around 25,000 visitors filling Hoglands Park with music, dance and activities for people of all ages.
Last year, both Southampton and Eastleigh Mela festivals were cancelled due to fears surrounding coronavirus.