Moving its activities online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lebanon's Baalbeck International Festival will stream a concert on Friday 9 July. To view the concert, please follow the festival's Instagram page.
Dubbed 'Shine on Lebanon', the concert will focus on Lebanese talents presenting a variety of music genres, from classical, jazz, Oriental bands to indie folk, rock, pop, electro and hip-hop musicians.
The evening will feature artists including Blu Fiefer, Ghenwa Nemnom, Jana Semaan, Pierre Geagea, Ziad Moukarzel, Beirut Vocal Point ensemble, and Taxi404 band.
"Our hope lies in the voice of the young and independent generation of musicians and artists who come together to shine our once bright beacon even brighter, because the time has come to #ShineOnLebanon," reads the festival's post on their Instagram account.
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Launched in 1955, the Baalbeck Festival is the oldest and the most prestigious cultural festival in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Over the past years, the festival took place annually with its main stage being Lebanon's historic Bacchus Temple (located in the Lebanese town Baalbeck).
Baalbeck adds grandeur to all artists’ performing during the festival, where the Roman temple's ruins adorn the town, giving back the "great magic to the events," as renowned Lebanese choreographer Alissar Caracalla once put it.
Though the usual line-up is not too compact, with events taking place on a weekly basis, the festival stresses on featuring the best known musicians, dancers, orchestras, ballet and theatre troupes from the Arab and international artistic scene.
In its over 60-year history, the festival hosted names such as the Royal Ballet, Béjart Ballet Lausanne (Maurice Béjart), the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Caracalla Dance Theatre, Plácido Domingo, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Sting, Umm Kulthoum, Deep Purple, Comédie-Française, Beninese, among many others.
While also welcoming young and independent voices as well as well-known pop musicians, in the most recent years the festival featured names such as French-Lebanese jazz trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, French piano trio Trio Wanderer, Moroccan-Egyptian Arabic pop singer Samira Said, Jahida Wehbe and Elie Maalouf, Ben Happer and The Innocent Criminals, and American rock band Toto, among others.
“The festival is managed by people on a mission to promote culture and tourism in Lebanon. They aspired to nurture an enticing artistic environment rooted in cross-cultural exchange. They also strove to establish a unique setting for innovative performances by local, regional and acclaimed international talents. Soon the festival became an annual highlight on the calendar every summer, gaining an international reputation and attracting big names on the music, theatre and dance scenes,” the festival’s website reads.
In 2020, the festival's activities were moved online due to the pandemic.
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