Lebanon has long been one of the principal entertainment and cultural hubs in the region. Artists from around the world have flocked to perform at historic venues across the country. This year will be no exception, with the country boasting a packed entertainment schedule for the summer.
The Byblos International Festival, which debuted in 2003, is held in the Phoenician city of Byblos, considered one of the oldest cities in the world. The stage is set on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, right next to the imposing presence of the Byblos sea castle which was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century. In line with the establishment of the Byblos festival, the city of Jbeil has undergone a real revamping over the past few years to become a major touristic center in the country.
The Baalbeck Festival, held at the footsteps of historic roman columns and in the shadows of the imposing temple of Bacchus, is considered the oldest and most prestigious cultural event in Lebanon, and perhaps in the Middle East. This festival has been ongoing for over half a century, with memorable performances recorded here by some of the famous local, regional, and international artists. Security concerns have sometimes interfered with the smooth running of the festival, but the organizers have to be really commended for their commitment to keeping this event running year in and year out.
The Beiteddine festival, held within the walls of the beautiful Beiteddine castle in the Chouf Mountains, has been running for over 30 years now. With the castle representing an emblematic piece of oriental architecture, the festival has strived to the same standards, attracting artists and performances of the highest caliber.
There are several other venues which will hold summer festivals and events. Some of them include the maritime city of Batroun, an ever growing entertainment hub. The festival features a diverse lineup of performers, as well as food and wine festival to close out the festivities. Another area is the northern city of Ehden, which provides a heavenly escape into Northern Mountains. Ehden will host a number of festivals and events, Ehdeniyyat, described by some as an “experience that never ends”.
The lineup at Lebanon’s festivals has long reflected the country’s rich culture. Some of the world’s most famous performers have stepped foot on historic venues in the country: Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Aznavour, Sting, Nina Simone. In addition, local artists have enchanted the stages with magical performances by, to name a few, Caracalla, The Rahbanis, Fairouz, Magida el Roumi and others. This year’s summer festivals were kicked off with the Beirut Spring Festival which occurred from June 3rd till the 7th and featured prominent local artists Khaled Mzannar and Tania Saleh.
The line-up for this summer is as following:
– Batroun International festival on weekends from July 8th – 31st the 8th, kicking off with Air Supply
– Beiteddine Festival from July 8th – August 10th
– Baalbeck International Festival with a lineup spanning July 22nd – August 28th
– Byblos International Festival from July 15th – August 9th, with a closing concert by international start Sia
– Beirut Holidays from July 7th – August 4th