Jassi Sidhu Rocks Las Vegas
Jassi Sidhu, one of the most influential and talented England based Punjabi singer, has been entertaining around the world, however, his first stop in Vegas brought his fans on their toes.
Over 2000 Las Vegans’ from all walks of life attended the 10th Annual Vaisakhi Mela on Sunday at the open air amphitheater under the clear blue sky, in fabulous downtown Las Vegas. The 10th annual celebration of Vaisakhi combined with Indian Food Festival brought the community together to enjoy well executed music and food fest. All the local Indian restaurants came together to present their chef’s culinary expertise with their unique and distinct Indian cuisine from different regions of India. On the ground, the word among attendees was that this mela was brilliantly planned and well thought presentation of diverse Indian culture to Las Vegas. Attendees were pleased and felt the ownership of the mela and were chowing down on the reasonably priced street food of India. Indian food aficionados and first-timers got to experience an array of different items to choose from. Republican Congressman Joe Heck was in attendance with his wife Lisa Heck to grace the occasion. The celebrity in attendance was the 102 year old marathon runner Fauja Singh from London, UK.
Fauja Singh with Las Vegan Vikas Bhatnagar
Long lines were seen at nearly all food booths. Volunteers from gurdwara were busy serving bread pakoras, samosas, dahi wadas and Indian sweets for a low price of $1 each, while Mint India restaurant was dishing out their Indian Chinese specialties. Origin India prepared Chholey Bhatorey, aaloo tiki along with delicately prepared kulfi falooda and mango lassi. India Palace had eight item buffet along with GolGappas while India Masala had his employees on the grill with continuously preparing Masala Dosa with masala potatoes, served with spicy sambar, and chutney. India Oven specialty, Pav Bhaji, was selling briskly. Gandhi India restaurant employees were overwhelmed with the demand for their fish pakoras and delicately prepared biryani. Kabab Korner was doing brisk business for their barbequed tikkas and kabobs. Other vendors included henna art, jewelry, cotton candy and shaved ice slushies’.
The mistresses of ceremonies were Sunanda ‘Tripathi’ Manteris, Asha Sharma and Simrit Kaur. The trio kept the crowd engaged in music, dance and of course, the Indian cuisine. California Gatka Team showcased their talent with a performance of a century old traditional martial art while a group of Stanford students performed their Bollywood pops and traditional cultural music and some fusion. The talented Stanford Raagapella has toured around the United States and has performed with well-known musician A R Rehman. EnKarma Bhangra Band from Vancouver, Canada brought their Canadian bhangra talent and kept the audience engaged. The local kids and youth displayed their skills in Bhangra and other Indian dances.
The program was funded through the generous donation from the community and also partly funded by the Nevada Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts. The mela has come a long way from the first formal fundraiser and banquet for the gurdwara in 2003 when over 300 local community members attended the banquet.
The headliner, the showcase of the mela, Jassi Sidhu took the stage around 7:45 p.m. Jassi promised the crowd the entertainment which Las Vegas is not used to in the past. Of many songs played by Jassi Sidhu, most of them were from his albums released from 2003 till 2011. Jassi’s songs were the timeless sound of loud and pure vibrant dhol and continuously maintained an energy among the attendees, never seen in Vegas Indian Pakistani community.
This was quite the event! Attendees are already eagerly looking forward to next year India Food and Cultural Festival. See you again next year.