Jounieh International Festival saw the light of day 6 years ago following a promising initiative by the civil society. Back then, the event was a tangible and genuine embodiment of the wisdom that says: “It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness”. The aim of the festival was to revive the tourism and economic wheel in the city of Jounieh and its suburbs.
Practically speaking, this is exactly how the seventh version of the festival will be. Details about this year’s program were announced in a press conference held on May 3 at Casino du Liban in the presence of H.E Mr. Avedis Guidanian, Minister of Tourism, and a huge cluster of political, cultural, social, economic and media figures.
Journalist Rania Achkar introduced the conference by saying: “Jounieh has never been a simple geographical space. From its ancient history to the present, it constitutes a first class spiritual, intellectual, cultural and touristic oasis. The city has always shared the happiness and worries of its surroundings.
Addressing the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Avedis Guidanian, Achkar pointed out that since the 1960s, the festivals that covered the country were worthy of its cities and touristic centers. Meanwhile in Jounieh, the initiatives were modest. Then, one day, 7 years ago, young civil society volunteers met to launch the Jounieh International Festival, raising the bar and adding an international dimension to the festival. While the world was broadcasting a bad idea about the region with the issue of garbage on the streets, the Jounieh International Festival Committee managed to erase this image from the minds of people; Today the festivities and fireworks illuminating Jounieh Bay are making the headlines of local, regional and international media.
Word of Mrs Zeina Frem
During the press conference, the president of Jounieh International Festival Committee, Mrs. Zeina Frem, announced a promising summer enriched with enchanting nights and energizing prospects for tourism in the city.
Mrs. Frem tackled the overall challenges which are currently facing the country and the region, and mentioned the chaotic controversies that tried to undermine the festival’s status. She stressed that these challenges were faced by a stronger commitment by the committee to move the festival forward in the hopes of boosting tourism and the economic prosperity in the region.
Moreover, Mrs. Frem confirmed that a bright ray of hope will soon be drawn on the faces of Jounieh’s people to ultimately take the country high; all based on the fact that the honorable arm of the farmer who chooses a fertile soil and grows good seeds with utter love and loyalty is destined to yield a bountiful crop.
This year, the Jounieh International Festival Committee has overcome all the odds and logistic impediments which excluded the Fouad Chehab Stadium as the usual official location for the event.
Thus, and with high modesty and professionalism, the event has been relocated to a new wide area in the vicinity of Jounieh Bay: a space surrounded on the north by the Casino du Liban was set to be a meeting point for the sea, the land and the music as part of an amazing initiative to celebrate the opening of the international festival – ranked first amongst others by the Ministry of Tourism.
Word of Mr. Fayad:
In his word, the Vice President and General Manager of Jounieh International Festival Committee, Mr. Fady Fayad, detailed the festival’s program announcing that romance fans will have their share of fun on the second Sunday of July with the star Wael Kfoury and his exquisite selection of songs, especially dedicated to lovers. Wael Kfoury’s concert will send a message of love and life to the world.
And as a sign of cultural openness, and an embodiment of Lebanon’s message, on the economic and touristic arena, the festival will enclose an outstanding international event: the original version of the huge musical play “Notre Dame de Paris”, written by Victor Hugo and featuring Hiba Tawaji in the role of Esmeralda.
The play will be supervised by the producer and musical composer, Oussama Al Rahbani and the performance will take place on 8 , 9, 10 and 11 July.
Mr. Rahbani confirmed that the chosen location will be worth of the International Festival and will align with the technical requirements of the renowned historic play.
Last but least, scenes from the orient will suffuse Jounieh bringing the best, timeless hits from Music Halls’s unique, Arabic musical arrangements, performed by an all-star lineup: The legend Toni Hanna, the sibling duo, the Chehade Brothers, and Bilal.
Featured artists will be performing an array of classics from the Arab world with Elefteriades’ world acclaimed twist on Friday, July 14.
The closing ceremony of the Festival will be held on Saturday, July 15 with the internationally acclaimed and overwhelming fireworks show, which has attracted thousands of visitors and citizens over the past years and still to date, constitutes the most prominent event in Lebanon’s tourism.
During the sparkly night that will brighten the bay of Jounieh, the talented Lebanese musician, Michel Fadel will escort the fountains of light from Jounieh International Festival new location along with the orchestra. His exhilarating symphonies are expected to be a magnet for the youth and people of all ages inviting them to capture the magic of the moment and rejoice at the dreamlike mix of beat and light.
Tickets are now on sale at all Virgin Megastore outlets