The annual Waltham Forest Mela Festival on Sunday was hosted by former Eastenders' actor Ameet Chana

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Crowds cheer as they watch performers sing and dance on stage Crowds cheer as they watch performers sing and dance on stage

Thousands of people descended on a Walthamstow playing field yesterday to celebrate the best of Asian culture. 

The ever-popular Mela Festival returned to Waltham Forest at Chestnut Fields with Bhangra dancing, stilt walkers, weight lifters and tribal drummers.

As temperatures soared throughout the day, dancers from the Jazba Dance Troupe and performer Taz from Stereo Nation took to the stage to entertain a record 9,000 people.

This year's festival was hosted by British Indian actor Ameet Chana, most famously known as Adi Ferreira in Eastenders' until 2005.

The five hour celebration behind Waltham Forest Town Hall also included performances by award-winning folk and pop Punjabi singer and composer Sona Walia, and musicians the 515 Crew.

Council leader Chris Robbins was at the all-day event.

He said: "Almost 8,800 people attended the Mela on Chestnuts Field and 3,500 turned up for the inaugural Mid-Summer Festival at Leyton Jubilee Park.

"It was great to see so many families enjoying themselves and I would particularly like to thank the committee that assisted with the Mela for making it such a continuing success."

A diverse display of Punjab, Pakistani and Bangladeshi culture was on display with a wide variety of food and drink to choose from as residents of all generations participated during the family-fun day.

Related links

For more pictures from the event, buy this week's Waltham Forest Guardian

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