BEIRUT: Another season of long-anticipated concerts will kick off this summer, despite the political tension.
Neemat Frem, founder of Phellipolis, which sponsors the Jounieh International Festival, expressed the event organizers’ determination to hold the annual festival despite the fact that the security situation in the country remains uneasy.
The program for this year’s festival was announced at a press conference Tuesday and the line-up promises a few surprises.
“Every year it gets more difficult,” said Joe Beano, head of the festival’s marketing committee. “We have to take risks every time.”
Beano added that it had been more difficult to generate the required funding this year in comparison to previous editions of the festival, but said the support of several local banks and insurance companies had made it possible for the event to go ahead.
As in previous years, the festival will kick off with a fireworks display in Jounieh bay on June 27.
“It will be ... synchronized with musical effects,” Beano revealed, adding that it would be “broadcast on several television channels.”
Unlike some other editions of the festival, this year’s line-up includes concerts and events catered to a wide range of musical tastes.
Elias Rahbani will conduct his orchestra on July 2, performing famous hits including “Diala,” “Endless Love” and “Love Words,” among others. A member of the legendary Rahbani family, he has written many songs for diva Fairuz and has also composed music for plays and television programs.
Aficionados of French music will be pleased to know that young French singer Zaz will come to Jounieh on July 3 to regale audiences with her greatest hits. Her talent was recently recognized with an award, presented by French musician Jean-Michel Jarre at the Grand Prix SACEM last November. Born Isabelle Geffroy, Zaz’s rich voice will immerse the audience in her joyful mood through songs including “Je Veux” and “On Ira.”
The concert that seems likely to be the biggest hit with local fans will be Imagine Dragons’ performance on July 7. The Grammy and AMA-winning American alternative rock band rose to fame with tunes such as “Radioactive” and “Demons.” They will be performing for one night only in Lebanon, amid their European tour.
On July 10, the stage of the Fouad Chehab Stadium will be invaded by the singing team behind the French version of “The Voice.”
The finalists of the show will interpret the tunes that made them famous in their third consecutive performance in Lebanon.
As in previous years, the organizers of the festival have also programmed many diverse activities into their festival schedule. Roads will be car-free and parades, carnivals and other events for children are scheduled to take place.
The Jounieh Festival aims to show that, unlike many of Lebanon’s summer festivals, the event is not only about concerts and performances, but also about making audiences discover or re-discover their city through social events.
The Jounieh International Festival runs from June 27 until July 10. For tickets, please call 01-999-666.