Over the years, Irvin Leisure has been central to many of the country’s major festivals, and it is about time that we recognised here the superb multi cultural nature of our land. Everyone who visited Hyde Park last December was struck by the fantastic mix of races, religions, cultures and colours who mingled together in a wonderful atmosphere that was summed up as “London in One Street”. This does not happen by accident, so read on to learn more about our work in helping multi culturalism thrive.
We have for many years participated in superb community festivals. For instance we recently provided the Fairground attractions for the terrific Diwali Day Festival in north London, with a magnificent fireworks display plus music and dance at an event that was attended not just by the Hindu and Sikh Communities but by all residents in the borough of Brent and many people beyond. The Diwali procession wends its way through the streets of Wembley. We apologise for the typing error before the event which should have said it would be led by Bullocks, and not as it was written would be a load of Bullocks (or words to that effect!). To continue their fine example of multi culturalism, Brent has combined the Diwali Street Light Display with their Christmas lights (touch of thrift there too we feel), and again this unites the populace in enjoying their town; their area.
Of course Diwali Day is usually very close to the traditional British Bonfire Night where as a symbol of religious tolerance the entire country goes out and celebrates the burning of Catholics! However again it is a fun festival to which everyone is invited and all people attend. We are also proud to present Christmas Fairs and Festivals, and of course Easter is a most important part of our year. In December 2007 we are proud to provide attractions to celebrate the opening of a new Church in Great Missenden for instance.
We fully support Eid Events, and work with Islamic Community Groups to provide entertainment at exhibitions that celebrate the Moslem Culture. We were present at the opening of the extension of the East London Mosque when the streets of Whitechapel were packed with happy crowds who thronged to see this fine example of community action to build a community centre and museum of Moslem life in London. You may not know, but within the mosque is one of London’s oldest synagogues, demonstrating how religions can cooperate and share space together. (Apart from Catholics on Guy Fawkes day of course!)
You may also not know that in many Islamic countries, different faiths’ religious holidays are made into National Holidays. In Malaysia and Indonesia, for instance, both Islamic States, Christmas, Diwali, Chinese New Year as well as Eid (known locally as Hari Raya or Festival Day) are national holidays. Can you imagine the Maily Dail reaction if this was suggested in this country? Richard Littlebrain, Appalling Docker and Melody Phlippit would go berserk and seek to burn another Catholic! However would that not be a superb way to demonstrate our inclusivity as a nation and to share with each other the pleasures of our religions and cultures? (Not the Catholic burning. I mean the national holiday idea)
And so to the ultimate in Multi Culturalism, because whilst separate festivals are important to recognise and value these different traditions, the ultimate aim must be to bring everyone together at British events, which is what we did at London’s Fair. First of all we made it clear to all sections of the community that they were wanted and would be welcome in Hyde Park by targeted marketing campaigns on community radio and on TV. Then we ensured that our staff reflected the multi cultural nature of our nation’s capital, and our staff group included young Afro Caribbeans from Peckham, Eastern Europeans, Chinese Malaysians from Birmingham, Sikhs, Hindhus, and white British and Irish operators. The food we sold was varied so we had vegetarian, Halal and Kosher options. The displays on the rides could not be offensive to anyone, and the prices were inoffensive too! We had superb and friendly security staff to ensure complete safety. Our large signs at the gates stated that this was a multi cultural festival and that all religions and requirements would be fully respected. So did it work? You decide.
During London’s Fair we welcomed major stars such as Madonna and Ian Wright. They shared the Dodgems with wealthy visitors from Belgravia and Burkhas from Bethnal Green. We had Rastas from Richmond and Hindhus from Hounslow. There was not one crime during the entire 10 day festival, and one woman who lost her purse had it returned with all the money intact. So yes it did work. Yes it was worth it, and yes it set the standard that we now follow. Britain is a multi racial society and we should celebrate that.
Irvin Leisure Events are enhanced by the mix of our clientele and we hope their lives are enriched by our efforts. We are proud to provide entertainment for all and shall continue so to do. We must celebrate the society we all enjoy.