Join the Mayor's Vaisakhi celebrations in Trafalgar Square

01 May 2014

Londoners are invited to the Mayor's Vaisakhi Festival in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 4 May, celebrating the holiest day in the Sikh calendar.

Vaisakhi symbolises the start of the harvest season and the beginning of the Sikh New Year, and London's celebrations are an opportunity for people of all faiths and backgrounds to experience a festival that is celebrated by 20 million people across the world.

The free event is open to everyone and organised by the Mayor of London in partnership with Sony Entertainment Network. There will be something for all the family to enjoy, with a strong line-up of main stage performances, including classical, Bhangra and popular music presented by Sony Entertainment Network. Revellers will be able to learn to dance Bhangra Boogie Woogie style in Sony's Entertainment Zone, or peruse the Asian Bazaar for an exotic trinket shopping extravaganza.

There will be opportunities to have your make up done Asian Wedding style and have pictures taken on a Punjab backdrop courtesy of event partner, Lebara Mobile. Also on offer will be the chance to join in have-a-go sporting activities, or simply to enjoy the impromptu Bollywood dancing and Dhol drumming across the square.

There will be variety of tasty vegetarian (no eggs) traditional food and drink, story-telling, turban dressing and a range of other festive children's activities, including arts and crafts, face-painting and henna artists.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 'Vaisakhi is a joyous occasion for Sikhs around the world, tracing its roots back to the very birth of a religion which teaches respect and generosity to people of all cultures and creeds, a relevant message for our great city. In that spirit, this is an opportunity for all Londoners to revel in the jollity and festivity of our event in Trafalgar Square and I hope everyone visiting has a wonderful day. Happy Vaisakhi.'

Artists performing, with the backing of a full live band, include the pioneering Bhangra legend Jassi Sidhu; award-winning PBN Team; Heera Group, the recently reformed Apna Sangeet; and Premi Group, one of the original leading lights of the Bhangra movement. With Juggy D, aka 'the Panjabi Rockstar' on stage, world music star Sonia Panesar, multi-genre singer-songwriter San2, and the popular dancers Asli Baharan Punjab Diyan, crowds can expect a lively mix of Bhangra from returning legends to new stars.

Tony Lit, VP - Head of Europe for Sony Entertainment Network commented: 'Sony Entertainment Network has always been committed to providing the South Asian community with quality entertainment and after the great success of last year's event, we are once again proud to be supporting the Mayor of London as media partner for this year's Vaisakhi Festival in Trafalgar Square. We have arranged a very special day for all our Sikh viewers visiting the event with an unforgettable list of legendary performers to celebrate the New Year. Wishing everyone a Happy Vaisakhi and a wonderful family day out.'

Yoganathan Ratheesan, CEO of Lebara Group, praised the event and collaboration: 'Vaisakhi is important to many of our customers and their loved ones all over the world. We are proud to be working with The Mayor and Sony to bring music and entertainment to London. I hope everyone has a wonderful and fun experience.'

Deputy Mayor of London Victoria Borwick is due to address the crowds. Mayor Boris Johnson's video message can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZGjnKqZjoE.

SCHEDULE

Event: Vaisakhi Festival

Date: Sunday 4 May 2014

Time: 12pm – 6pm

Venue: Trafalgar Square

Entry: FREE – ALL WELCOME

Information: www.london.gov.uk/vaisakhi

12pm Religious Prayer / Blessing

12.20 Sonia Panesar

12.30 Sony Host

12.35 Asli Baharan Punjab Diyan

12.55 Sony Host

13.00 Sonia Panesar

13.15 Sony Host

13.20 San 2

13.50 Sony Host

13.55 Juggy D

14.25 Sony Host

14.30 Heera / Apna Sangeet / Premi

15.00 Speeches

15.25 Heera / Apna Sangeet / Premi

16.25 Sony Host

16.30 PBN

17.10 Sony Host

17.15 Jassi Sidhu

18.00 EVENT ENDS 

Notes to editors

 

Vaisakhi Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year, is the holiest day of the calendar for Sikhs worldwide and usually falls on 13 April. On this day in 1699, Sikhism was born as a collective faith. Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the 10th Master of the Sikhs, initiated the Sikhs as the Khalsa or the pure and sincere. He bound the Sikhs to a strict code of conduct and, with unshorn hair, beard and turban, gave the Sikhs a distinct identity. Additional information can be found at www.london.gov.uk/vaisakhi. 

About Lebara Mobile Lebara is a leading Global mobile telecoms operator enhancing the lives of migrant communities by providing high quality and low cost mobile products and services. Lebara provides Pay As You Go mobile SIM cards and related products and services customised to serve the international communities in seven European countries and Australia calling around the globe. Customers have recognised Lebara for being trustworthy, honest, simple and offering great value. * Lebara expanded its services by launching Lebara Money initially in the UK, a simple and secure MasterCard® prepaid card and fast and reliable money transfer services using MoneyGram, both offering competitive rates for customers wishing to send money abroad and international mobile top up services. Lebara has been recognised for its innovation and business success as well as it as its best in class customer service through several industry awards including the latest Best MVNO at the Mobile Industry Awards 2013, Best Large Contact Centre at the European Call Centre and Customer Service Awards 2012 and 2013 and Best MVNO, for five consecutive years, and Best Community and Social Enterprise, for two years running, at the Mobile News Awards 2014. Lebara is committed to giving back to the communities it serves through its Foundation, established in 2008. In five years, the founders have donated over €11 million to help protect and educate more than 200,000 disadvantaged children in 11 countries where Lebara customers have family and friends. More information can be found here: http://www.lebara.com www.lebara-money.com http://www.lebarafoundation.org * Source: ICM Lebara customer research 2010. 

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES 

Sonia Panesar World Music Artist, Singer Songwriter & Composer, Sonia Panesar, boasts versatility, confidence and individuality, fusing a variety of music and singing styles creating the perfect masterpiece for her melodious songs. The established British Asian Female Artist continues to wow audiences as she returns to the stage and the music industry from a music career break after having her second baby late last year. Sonia is currently preparing for her forthcoming tracks as she now focuses on her passion for World Fusion, Punjabi Folk and Spiritual Music. Sonia's most recent singles include Nachungi, Charkha Mera Rangla (the first official cover of Chitra Singh's song), Baadal, Your Face (a duet in Turkish and Hindi). www.soniapanesar.com 

Asli Baharan Punjab Diyan Asli Baharan Punjab Diyan (ABPD) established in 1994. ABPD is the UK's First Mixed boys and girls bhangra and giddha group. Our group has performed in Bollywood and Hollywood such as Bend it like Beckham, Bride and prejudice, Love aaj Kal, Patiala House, Salaam e ishq, Ram ji London Wale and many more. Our Group had also got the honour to perform in front of Her majesty Queen and also along with Bollywood stars such as Shahrukh Khan, Akshey Kumar And Dharmendra. 

Juggy D Juggy D - THE PUNJABI ROCKSTAR - is one of the most Influential Punjabi singers and performers in the Asian Music Industry. His first self titled studio album was released in 2004 which has had him performing all over the world since. We finally witnessed his second studio album entitled ‘Punjabi Rockstar‘released last year. Followed by the news of the reunion of the Rishi Rich Project, the trio, Rishi Rish, Jay Sean & Juggy D are set to release a couple of singles this year. You can follow Juggy D on Twitter @theREALjuggyd or check out www.facebook.com/juggydfanpage. 

San2 San2 has grown up surrounded by music. Hailing from a spiritual family, he has spent many years performing shabads and playing tabla and harmonium in gurdwaras. His love of music saw him performing on 'Star Ticket' at the tender age of 8 in front of Samantha Mumba on the Disney Channel. 22 year-old San2 is a maverick in the Asian music world. His versatility knows no bounds, as he’s able to switch from Hindi to English to Punjabi in a number of music genres effortlessly. Highlighting this, San2’s first single ‘Nayo Lagda’ was an infectious up-tempo Qawwali track which reached the top of many charts around the world. His follow up track 'Gal Sunja' is due for release shortly. His album releases later in 2014. 

Heera Heera Group, one of the pioneers of Indian Music Bands, was formed in the year 1980 by the lead singer Kumar Heera, who teamed up with Palvinder Dhami and 8 other musicians. They released their first album Bhabi Te Nanaan Nachdi. This success led to many more hit albums such as “Diamond” which included hit songs Maar Chadpa and Jind Balyea. “Diamonds” broke barriers in Indian Music and was the first ever Punjabi Pop album and was a smash hit worldwide. This made Heera Group into one of the ultimate bands of all time! 

Apna Sangeet Kulwant Singh Bhamrah (K.S.Bhamrah) and Sardara Singh Gill (S.S.Gill) are considered one of the most charismatic, energetic and entertaining duos in the world of Bhangra music and continue to grace the live stage together. From anthems like 'Soho Road Utey', 'Mera Yaar Vajave Dhol', 'Toon Nach Toon Nach', 'Gur Nalon Ishq Mitha' to iconic solo projects like 'Overdrive' & 'Jam To The Bhangra' they have continued to spread the music from their coming together in 1979. Apna Sangeet are without doubt the Rolling Stones of Bhangra music. 

Premi Premi Johal is the legendary lead singer and songwriter from Premi which formed in 1980. The flamboyant showman with his energetic and entertaining live performances has been given the well-deserved title of ‘King of Stage’ by his adoring fans. His contribution to Punjabi music and culture has seen him receive many accolades, including entry into the Bhangra Hall of Fame. It has seen him sing international smash hits like Tina O Tina, Nachdi Di Gooth Kulgaye, Gidha Pa Nikiye and Happy Birthday, still grace dance floors today. 

TeamPBN TeamPBN is a collective of three artists, led by world renowned Hitmaker, PBN and in the last year has taken the music scene by storm and made their mark on the global Urban Desi scene. Each member of the team, PBN, Raj Bains and Bambi, boasts their own individual style and influences, ranging from R&B to raw Folk, a true representation of today's Brit-Asian culture. They bring energy, excitement and versatility to the stage, a new sound and direction for today's Asian Music Industry. 

Jassi Sidhu An internationally acclaimed singer from Birmingham with over 100’s of hits, Jassi Sidhu is one of the finest Bhangra Singers in the music industry. Having crossed generations, numerous super hit albums and over 20 years of experience Jassi Sidhu is safe to say a legend. Having sung anthems like Aashiqui, Veer Da Viah, Jaan Mangdi Ft Honey Singh and lately collaborated with Youtube star Supawomen for Hipshaker, Jassi tours the world meeting his fans all over.