By Serene Serhan
An average of 10,000 daily visitors are expected to attend this year’s Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts, said the Festival’s General Manager Akram Masarweh on Monday.
On average, the largest number of visitors to the festival, throughout its history, has not exceeded 5000-6000.
"This increasing interest is due largely to the experience we have gained, year by year, in organizing the festival," he explained to Albawaba.com.
Masarweh, who was accompanying Queen Noor’s Deputy, Senator Leila Sharaf, on a routine inspection tour of the site, said that such an “interest” is most evident through the caliber of sponsorship this year.
“Larger companies are more willing to support us this year,” he said.
“Robert's Ice-cream and McDonald's are sponsoring us and we have also received a great deal of help and support from the telecommunications sector,” added Masarweh.
“Each year we are improving our services more and more. With that improvement comes more support, encouragement, visitors and sponsors,” he explained.
Kathem Saher, Assala Nasry, Walid Tawfiq and Samira Said are but a few of the big names that are participating in this year’s impressive program.
“The larger the attendance, the larger the festival should be,” said Masarweh.
Masarweh’s optimism seems to be in place.
He was given many congratulatory nods from Senator Sharaf on this year’s planning.
The Senator told Masarweh that this year’s preparations are “better and more organized.”
Moreover, she also believes that the innovative festival program this year will attract more visitors than ever before.
Throughout her inspection, Sharaf emphasized the importance of cleanliness and of awareness programs for smokers, who could fill the archeological site with cigarette butts.
Masarweh assured her that measures have been taken, saying that this year’s food and beverage services are making sure that cleanliness will be maintained. He told Leila Sharf that the Jordanian Anti-Smoking Committee is planning to display posters, demonstrating the damaging effects of smoking, all around the festival site.
This is not, however, what concerned Sharaf the most.
She emphasized that the media does not promote the less commercial events as much as they should.
“I have noticed emphasis on the more commercial events. Take Kathem El-Saher, for example, he does not need the promotion, he will automatically get a full house,” she said.
“It is events like the Royal Shakespeare Company and the ballet that need the promotion,” she explained.
King Abdullah, Queen Rania and Queen Noor will attend the opening ceremony of the 19th Jerash Festival on Thursday, 27th of July, together with around five hundred members of the government, parliamentarians, diplomats and journalists. The first Jerash festival was held in 1981 under the patrionage of Queen Noor. The festival's main aim is to increase the Jordanian public's appreciation of the arts and traditional culture.
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