Oh, what a night! Jerash Festival opens with overwhelming attendance

Published June 22nd, 2014 - 06:31 GMT

More than 30,000 people attended the 29th Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts’ activities over the weekend, its executive director, Mohammad Abu Summaqa, said Saturday. 

“The attendance was overwhelming. Not only were the concerts of Mohammad Assaf on Thursday and that of Elissa on Friday full, but also many other activities held at the ancient Roman city attracted thousands of visitors,” Abu Summaqa told reporters. 

The attendance over the weekend exceeded expectations, he added, noting that visitors also toured the events held on the sidelines of the festival.

“The festival is witnessing huge attendance by visitors from several countries, especially Arab states,” Abu Summaqa said. 

“Holding the festival during such times in the region consolidates the image of Jordan as a stable and secure country and helps in attracting tourists.”

This year’s festival features scores of folk troupes and Arab poets, in addition to local, regional and international groups from India, Cyprus, China, Greece and Azerbaijan, among other countries. 

With activities that include concerts, poetry recitals and theatrical performances, the festival is also hosting major Arab singers, such as Egyptian artist Mohammad Hamaqi, and Lebanese artists Wael Kfouri and Najwa Karam.

Jordanian singers Diana Karazon, Hussein Salman, Meteb Saqqar and Jaafar Al Saleh are also among the performers.

In addition, the festival features a handicraft exhibition as well as a fair for food products that involves the participation of dozens of NGOs from the local community.

In 2011, the government revived the Jerash festival, which was first launched in 1981, after a four-year suspension.

In 2008, authorities had launched the Jordan Festival, a nationwide theme-oriented event under which the Jerash festival became a component, a move that faced bitter criticism from fans, artists and associations.

The festival is held at the ancient Roman city of Jerash, 48km north of Amman, where theatrical performances used to be held thousands of years ago.

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