An estimated 17,000 people gathered in Wandle Park over the weekend, with around 5000 celebrating Croydon PrideFest on Saturday (14 July), and up around 12,000 throughout the day for the ZEE International Mela. Both events were supported by Croydon Council.
On Saturday, PrideFest began with a parade along North End at 11.30am, followed by live music and entertainment from entertainers such as Channel 4 star Asifa Lahore, and singer songwriter Christopher Haul. PrideFest was bigger and more ambitious this year, with a particular focus on support for members of the transgender community who led the parade from North End to the Park itself.
Sunday saw another day of eclectic excitement, colour, music and dance, with the second annual ZEE Croydon International Mela from 1pm, which brought together international acts, local artists, family fun and the delicious Tastes of Asia food market.
Headline acts included British singer-songwriter Arjun performing alongside London Mozart Players with orchestrations by Fiona Brice, YouTube hit Zack Knight, as well as rising star EZU from South London. While the younger crowd were drawn to the main stage, there was a huge age range of attendees overall, reflecting the broad and varied entertainment programme.
“It was great seeing so many people in Wandle Park for these two fantastic events. PrideFest and the Mela are important parts of our community, which is why the council was thoroughly pleased to sponsor these events. Croydon’s community spirit is amazing and we’ll always support these in whatever way we can.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
Julian Rudd, organiser of the ZEE Croydon International Mela said: ““It was a weekend of events that celebrated the culture and creativity of Croydon’s diverse communities. Remarkable Productions were delighted to have doubled the audience for ZEE Croydon International Mela in its second year. It was a wonderful event, with peaceful, happy crowds of revellers enjoying a kaleidoscope of artfroms and attractions, from the excellent work of local arts organisations Beeja and Apsara Arts through to sensational sets by Arjun and the London Mozart Players as well as the largest Dhol drum in the world making a surprise appearance to close the show.”
Paula Goodwin, Chair of Croydon Pride, commented: “We’re really grateful to Croydon Council for their support via sponsorship, because without our sponsors the day would not be possible. Once again this year PrideFest was a great success, and we’re very grateful to the wider community for their support as well.”