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An Indian Summer 2012 – Sunday

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An Indian Summer

Very English clouds and rain did not prevent “An Indian Summer” at the Cultural Quarter from being turned into a triumph by a dedicated team of organisers and a veritable forest of orange and black t-shirted volunteers, over the weekend of the 16th-17th June.

Opened by Leicester Mayor Peter Soulsby, highlights of the weekend included music, dance and comedy performances, fashion shows, market stalls, guided meditations, a cookery demonstration, and a large painted mural, at such varied venues as Phoenix Square, The Curve, The LCB Depot and the Exchange.

Personally, a real treat was a four-way Tabla performance, with two Leicester musicians hooked up to one guy in Mumbai, another in Los Angeles. Afterwards Rishii Chowdhury. one of the performers said, “It’s been phenomenal to be involved in Indian Summer. It’s a great platform for local musicians.”

The idea for “An Indian Summer” came originally when organiser Pritesh Varia visited a similar festival at Lille, France. The success of last year’s festival at Phoenix Square prompted the decision to expand the number of locations out into the Cultural Quarter. Chief Organiser, Bipin Anand, described Phoenix Square as “The perfect canvas… without the support of the Phoenix we wouldn’t have been here today”. Asked how the organisation had been managed he said “We used our imagination, creating empty shells for what we wanted, then going out and finding people to fill them. There is improvement still to be made. I would like to see the whole thing expand beyond the Cultural Quarter next year.”

The whole event was covered by a dedicated team of black t-shirted media volunteers, operating from a graphics suite at the top of the Phoenix Square building. Sent out by timetable to cover the various events, each returned to edit their footage and upload to YouTube, making sure “An Indian Summer” produced a stream of quality images. Said Media Organiser Jiten Anand, “It’s been an amazing experience. The media volunteers have had so much to cope with yet they’ve all pulled together as a fantastic team”.

And so, perhaps the last word should be about the volunteers. The 50-60 volunteers in their orange and black t-shirts symbolized the fact that a whole community was right behind this event and that Indian Summer is destined to go on and on. Said Gurdeep Sian, Creative Director, “Indian Summer is an experience ofIndia, and everyone is invited. Our logo is the sun, and even in the rain, our volunteers are the shiniest of the lot”. I don’t think he could have said it better.

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