Lebanese arts festival rocks on despite Syria war

Lebanese arts festival rocks on despite Syria war

Lebanese arts festival rocks on despite Syria war

The Baalbeck arts festival in eastern Lebanon is welcoming revellers for its 60th edition this year, despite the venue’s relative proximity to war-ravaged Syria.

The summer festival – which has been headlined by Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Joan Baez and other music giants – has historically been hosted in the ancient Roman ruins in the Beqaa Valley, only 40 kilometres from the Syrian border.

The conflict forced organisers to cancel the event for two years, and then temporarily relocate it to the Lebanese capital of Beirut, but it is now back to its original site.

Festival president Nayla de Freige admitted that security was “a real challenge” for the event, which includes contemporary music, opera and theatre, but said those concerns had not diminished its popularity.

“There are more and more spectators every year,” she told FRANCE 24.

Global pop music star Mika and French electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre are among those who will thrill audiences in Baalbeck this summer.