Controversy surrounds Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts

Jerash Festival
(Photo: Jerash Festival For Culture & Arts Facebook)
AMMAN — A wave of sarcastic comments went viral on social media on Saturday, after the management of the Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts published posters of the festival’s program on its Facebook account. اضافة اعلان

This 36th edition of the festival, which is set to start on July 27 and go on until August 6, started being the butt of controversy after the withdrawal of two of the best known Jordanian singers: Omar Al-Abdallat and Diana Karazon.

The former announced at the beginning of July that he was withdrawing from the festival due to the organizers’ poor management. The latter announced her withdrawal, accusing the festival management of not showing due respect to Jordanian artists.

Activists, journalists, and social media users shared their frustration with the poor designs of the festival posters, saying that they are outdated and their quality does not reflect the importance of the festival, but underestimates its value.

The festival’s executive director, Mazen Kawar, commenting on the sarcastic comments on social media, told Jordan News that “the issue was only with a few posters that were frequently shared and mocked”, adding that these posters were only used on social media accounts and not published offline as street ads, and that “we took it upon ourselves to fix the issue, and hired professionals to redo the posters that are to be displayed”.

“This behavior is unacceptable; it belittles the work and efforts” of the festival organizers, he said, adding that “we ask everyone to look at the good aspects and work together to make this festival a success.”

The festival management published a statement on Saturday saying that it should be blamed for the mistakes alone, as “the majority of these mistakes were caused by a bad judgment call by some of the festival partners”.

The statement also mentioned that many social media posts that went viral were fabricated, and that “it is entirely up to the Jordanian Artists Association to set the price (to be paid to the artists) and communicate with the participating artists.”

President of the Jordanian Artists Association Mohammad Yousef Al-Abadi said that the association has nothing to do with the controversial posters, noting that it sent the pictures as received from the artists themselves, and that “the issue is without a doubt the designing of the posters”.

Ziad Saleh, a Jordanian singer, recently announced he was withdrawing from the festival.

“It is an honor for any Jordanian artist to participate in Jerash festival, however, Jordanian artists are not well treated by any of the responsible parties,” he told Jordan News, complaining that the date he and the management had decided upon was later changed on the poster, without a “clear answer to what has happened, therefore I decided to withdraw”.

“As for the payment for Jordanian artists, it is nowhere close to that of other Arab artists, Saleh said, adding that “all of us would have loved to participate despite that”, implying that the problem lies with the festival organizers.

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