Multi-cultural festival underway

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Oslo’s annual multi-cultural Melafestivalen was opening on Thursday for a long weekend full of entertainment, exhibitions and, not least, food and drink. Thousands are expected during the four-day run on the harbour-front plaza in front of Oslo’s City Hall.

The Mela Festival is known for its colourful decorations, and not least its music and food. PHOTO: Views and News

“Mela” means “meeting place” in Sanskrit and the festival is billed as focusing on South Asian cultures. Soul artist Sisi Sumbundu, who’ll be performing Saturday night on the festival’s main stage, told newspaper Aftenposten, though, that she considers it an “urban festival” highlighting all cultures.

Last year’s festival was scheduled to take place just a week after a right-wing Norwegian terrorist attacked Norway’s Labour Party, holding it mostly responsible for the country’s emergence as a multi-cultural society. The gathering was still held, but in an abbreviated format that resembled a memorial to victims of the attacks.

In a twist of fate, this year’s festival coincides with release of the verdict in the case following the terrorist’s 10-week trial last spring. It perhaps illustrates how Norwegians are carrying on, with as many as 300,000 expected to visit the festival organized by, among others, Khalid Salimi and also featuring the legendary US singer and activist Harry Belafonte.

Views and News staff