People gather to attend the opening of Baalbek International Festival, in Baalbek, Lebanon July 20, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
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Shakira and Elton played one-off concerts in Lebanon in recent months but the summer music festivals that helped make the country a cultural lodestar for the Arab world are struggling.Elite tourists from the Gulf came to watch and spend big in the country, and the festivals helped bring ordinary Lebanese people together. While this year's festivals have put some well-known singers on stage, regional instability, Lebanon's economic malaise and a funding crunch have hit organizers.Whether that can help the festivals, or bring back Gulf tourists, is uncertain.That festival takes place in the elegant Ottoman-era palace of Beiteddine, located in the Chouf mountains, where her husband Walid Joumblatt is a major dynastic political leader.But for all their importance to the tourism sector and even, for some, to Lebanon's image of itself, the festivals remain in difficult times.
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