Jounieh’s festival is full of fun family activities that will keep you and your kids up late – playing, eating, dancing, riding bikes and just enjoying the warm summer Lebanese nights.
Expect an even more spectacular fireworks show than last year’s at the opening ceremony at Jounieh Bay… is it possible? If you’re a boater or a yacht owner you can get in on this: 300 boats will assist with the fireworks which will be followed by a music and light show, featuring the absolutely awesome DJ Said Mrad (myspace. com/saidmrad). Additionally you can participate in a photo contest for the best fireworks image. Summertime in Lebanon brings in a special air and atmosphere. The heat gets people flocking to numerous coastal resorts, and after sunset, summer’s evening invites people out for a time of relaxation and enjoyment. The rhythm of the Lebanese summer is the beat of international festivals with their open-air concerts and festivities. Baalbeck, Beiteddine, Batroun and Byblos – but Jounieh stands out as unique, not only because its first initial isn’t “B,” but for the way the city itself is part of the whole production. It is a mingling of city, culture, celebration and citizen. Jounieh’s festival “combines national and international artists, so it reveals the true identity of Lebanon: a country always ready to meet other cultures,” explains Joe Beaino, the marketing manager of Jounieh International Festival. The Jounieh International Festival’s name encapsulates exactly what it is and its purpose. It is about promoting Jounieh as a safe beautiful coastal city, open to tourism, nightlife and family entertainment. It is international in its scope by bringing the talented and famous from various corners of the world. Most importantly, it’s a festival, a two-week celebration for all who love Jounieh, love Lebanon and love life! The Jounieh International Festival, which has been running for a mere five years, has been bringing the best local and international talent. Past festivals featured Imagine Dragons, Elias Rahbani, Mika, Ragheb Alameh and Chris De Burg to name a few international star-studded acts. Beaino mentions that the biggest change since the festival started is that it transformed from “a regular event into an important occasion awaited by thousands of tourists and nationals.” He admits that much of this is due to “significant universally artists gradually on the list” of events. This has helped put Jounieh on the international music tour map. In its first year, the festival featured one main act, the Magida El Roumi concert, whereas this year there will be two weeks of festivities between July 2 and July 15, and five incredible shows. The magic behind the festival lies with Phellipolis (jouniehinternationalfestival.com), a non-profit association that works for development of municipalities to ensure the rights of citizens they represent. The organization of this festival has been a positive step in fostering a connection between the Municipality of Jounieh and the general public. There is a certain pride that people feel when their city hosts a spectacular event that grabs national and international attention. It must be noted that Phellipolis’s work has been humming along due to its small army of youth volunteers. Neemat Frem, Phellipolis and Jounieh International Festival’s President acknowledged at the festival’s press conference that “the youth are operating underneath the wings of Phellipolis.” Also, over the past few years, young people have turned out for the festivities in droves. “The logistical and social arrangements of the events are designed to lead the youths’ spirits to happiness and lots of energy,” says Beaino. It seems that the festival’s success is reflected by the hard work and dedication of young people who are its successors. Summer in Lebanon means an increase in tourism, which produces an economic upswing for three months, and for some this sustains livelihoods for the other nine months. The Lebanese love summer because it means that for many their loved ones who live abroad will be visiting for a short while. Naturally all Lebanese hope that the summer is a success, praying for security for our livelihood. It is how we endure in this small oasis. Beaino sums it up especially well when he says, “Jounieh International Festival tries to promote the civilized identity of Lebanon music has an extreme capability to transcend cultures and social borders.” The little enjoyments of life keep up spirits and let us live contentedly. Go out and celebrate in Jounieh!