(iskconnews.org) – ISKCON News | London Mellows Continues Legacy and Looks to Future
London Mellows is an annual kirtan festival organized by a committed team at ISKCON London for the temple congregation and the wider devotee community in the UK. This year the event was held on August 12th, 2023. In addition to UK-based kirtaneers, the event welcomed visiting kirtaneers, including Amala Harinama Dasa, Nadiya Mani Dasi, Ananta Gauranga Dasa, and Lilarani Gaurangi Devi Dasi.
The first London Mellows event took place in July 2016 as a special offering to Srila Prabhupada on the 50th Anniversary Year of ISKCON’s incorporation. Fifty melodies were offered that weekend.
Devaki Devi Dasi, who was part of the original London Mellows team, said, “We were very excited to establish London Mellows in 2016. It was our first weekend-long kirtan event at the temple, as far as we know, and we wanted the event to be an opportunity to glorify the holy names and Srila Prabhupada. After the success of the first London Mellows, we desired to make the event bigger and better each year and firmly establish it in the UK kirtan calendar.”
Gopibhava Devi Dasi is the core organizer who has been there since the first London Mellows event and, along with the team, is dedicated to making London Mellows a success each year. There are devotees helping with scheduling kirtaneers, helping with sound and logistics, designing marketing material, promoting the event on social media (this year, we set up a London Mellows Instagram page), taking care of kirtaneers, and arranging prasadam.
This year’s event was well attended. Devotees who participated felt inspired and connected more deeply to the holy names. Radha Londonisvara Das, one of ISKCON-London’s treasured kirtaneers who has an album Mandali produced by Temple record label, Radha Krishna Records, said, “Loved it, loved it, loved it!! It was such a nice event, such nice kirtans! I was really glad to be a part of it! Chanting together with Radha-Londonisvara’s devotees was very special. Thanks to the whole team for making it happen.”
Next year is the temple’s 55th anniversary, and the team will soon start discussing a strategy for the event, including potentially collaborating with other temples. The team is very dedicated and agrees that although they may look at external venues, performing kirtan, singing, and dancing in front of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara, the first Radha Krishna Deities installed by Srila Prabhupada in the West is very special and creates an intimate devotional atmosphere they do not want to lose.
If anyone has any skills they can offer the team or would like to help sponsor next year’s event (for example, this will allow the team to invite senior kirtaneers from abroad), please contact organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.