1990s – An organisation is born
Inevitably, the organisation became more focused on its core artistic and charitable objectives. In 1990, we became revenue clients of the erstwhile Merseyside Arts, and were encouraged to seek a charitable trust status. In 1993, Milap Festival Trust became a registered charity and an incorporated company, with the aim of creating a programme that supports arts cultural activities in Merseyside and beyond. It was during this second phase that we became a Regularly Funded Organisation (RFO) of Arts Council England as well as the Liverpool City Council.
In the early years, our work was focused on arranging high quality music and dance events for the communities of Merseyside. We also arranged theatre productions, visual art exhibitions, film seasons and community events which brought people together during festivals like Diwali and Navaratri. Slowly but surely the realisation dawned, that a number of gaps existed in performance and education within South Asian/Indian arts provision that needed to be tackled. This lead to a definite alteration in the direction that the organisation was taking.
In 1991 we established a new Concert Series called Music for the Mind & Soul. This has since then been taking place in Liverpool on the last Saturday of each month-(except December)-and is in its 26th year in 2016. The Concert Series at Liverpool are free for the audience, and have the added attraction of the availability of an Indian meal just before the concert begins. The Series has featured some of the biggest & best names in Indian Music along with a number of up and coming British musicians.
In addition, Milapfest presented regular dance evenings (Nritya Sandhya) that brought the work of many British as well as international dance artists to Merseyside for the first time.
The Manchester Move
In the 1999-2000 year we extended our work to Manchester through working closely with two iconic venues: The Bridgewater Hall & The Lowry. Through these newly created partnerships, the organisation was able to present a number of high profile programmes on a regular basis at Manchester, creating new audiences beyond Liverpool & Merseyside.