Ilford Diversity Festival a hit as trouble-makers kept away

Food, music and colour was the scene at the two-day Lyca Mobile Diversity Festival, but organisers were forced to stop dozens of suspected trouble-makers from entering the venue.

Melbourne Fields in Valentines Park, Ilford, was the setting as thousands of UK Asian music fans gathered to witness live singing and dance by a variety of entertainers, including international stars.

Bhangra, pop, Hindi, Turkish and other styles of music kept the audience entertained from morning to evening on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday saw performances by British Cypriot singer Eylem and UK Asian singing stars Mumzy Stranger teamed with Junai Kaden.

On Sunday, British singer of Indian descent Taz, aka Stereo Nation, stole the show with his latest and classic numbers.

His all time hit Mai jagi Sari Raat got the loudest cheer from the audience that consisted of both young and old.

Speaking to the Recorder the 44-year-old pioneer of cross cultural Asian fusion music said: “I seldom perform at festivals, but the Diversity Festival is special.

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“I have flown all the way from Mumbai to delight the crowds waiting to listen to me. I feel ecstatic to be here.”

On both days, crowds who organisers say had caused trouble at another Asian music concert were denied entry to the festival.

According to main organiser Shakil Zaman, they threw bottles and eggs at security guards who denied them entry.

Mr Zaman said: “I had to make the decision not to let some trouble-makers in.

“There was no trouble at all in the venue.

“He added: “The name of the festival in itself suggests what we tried to achieve through the two day festivities.

“We were successful in bringing artists from various origins on the same platform and spread the message of unity in diversity.”

Mumzy Stranger had their set cut short from 40 minutes to about 15 after two other acts were “late” arriving at the festival.

They said: “What really disappointed me was the few idiots who came purely to create trouble and had no regard for the women and children who were there to have fun.”