Leicester’s annual cultural festival An Indian Summer yesterday had a colourful launch when dancers from the Shiamak dance academy performed a flash mob in the city centre. Speaking to Pukaar News, Jiten Anand, the Event Project Manager, commented: “We thought about what we should do at the start of each festival and a flash mob is an explosive start of colour, vibrancy, youth, dance and music so what better to start the festival than with a bang!”
The performance comes ahead of the week-long festival, which lasts from 23-29 June, comprising of a series of events to celebrate and promote the culture of India in the local area. There are around 120 different activities across ten different venues around the city, encompassing a wide range of art forms including theatre, film, music and dance. The festival began in 2011 as a two-day event that took place in the Phoenix, but has since grown substantially to accommodate for its popularity and a marketplace venue has been added this year.
As well as leisure activities where people can sample unique cocktails and taste traditional Indian cuisine, there is a whole host of entertainment on offer and it is expected that revellers will flock to see the headliners, Desi Circus Live who will be showcasing their eclectic mix of music, theatre, dance, comedy and puppetry. Festival sell-out Tabla with a Difference returns with their immersive cinematic experience which encompasses classical music, kathak dance and an exploration of the importance of the tabla.
An Indian Summer will also include workshops of arts and crafts and children’s puppet making, as well as mediation and yoga to get involved in. Participants are invited to attend talks and debates which deal with different aspects of India’s history and culture, such as their part in the First World War. Director of An Indian Summer Bipin Anand, expressed that “We like to call ourselves an intelligent festival. People will come and they’ll learn something, as well as having a lot of fun.”
Being billed as ‘A Journey to the heart of India’, the festival will encapsulate a fusion of Indian culture and celebrate the art and music that is dear to the nation. Assistant city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair praised the uniqueness of the festival, commenting that: “It is a different theme, a different taste and brings a different offering. It brings a taste of the life of India and Indian style back to Leicester. I think that is the success and that is the beauty.”
It is expected that 15,000 people will attend, and Jitan added, “We want to pave the way for a new culture and arts festival that inspires and teaches people.”