Mark every day of your diary this summer: festival season is back. Four favorites – old and new – are a good place to start.
The relative newbie of the three big Bs (Baalbeck, Byblos and Beiteddine), Byblos International Festival’s program is always the most eagerly anticipated. This year, don’t miss nine-time Grammy Award winner John Legend for R&B and soul, American singer-songwriter Gregory Porter and his quintet for jazz and British alternative rock band Alt-J.
Runs July 13 – August 18, byblosfestival.org
In celebration of World Music Day, La Fête de la Musique brings music to the streets of Beirut with 70 concerts on ten outdoor stages, spread across every corner of the city. Offering a platform to amateurs and established acts alike, expect to see the who’s-who of the underground music scene, plus some new rising talents.
June 21, Facebook: Fete Musique Beyrouth
Baalbeck wins for atmospheric setting alone, with concerts taking place inside the city’s impressive Roman ruins, and a festival heritage from the ‘50s. On this year’s line up is jazz bassist Richard Bona, Syrian diva Mayada El-Hennawy, Franco-Morrocan singer Hindi Zahra and the disco-funk of The Earth Wind and Fire Experience featuring Al McKay.
Runs July 31 – August 30, baalbeck.org.lb
Beirut Holidays Festival offers the summer’s best in Arab pop, with Lebanese superstar Najwa Karam a sure sell-out show – in terms of Facebook likes alone, she’s almost as big as Madonna. Other highlights include the “King of Romance,” Lebanese singer Wael Kfoury, Austrailian brother-and-sister folksters Angus and Julia Stone, and Mashrou’ Leila will close the festival.
Runs July 18 – August 6, Facebook: Beirut Holidays
—By Natalie Shooter