Jerash Festival ‘decorated with joy’ after COVID-long absence

(Photos: Amir Khalifa/ Jordan News)
AMMAN — The 35th instalment of the Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts, held under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II, kicked off on Wednesday and will run until October 2, after it was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. اضافة اعلان

The festival is estimated to have cost more than JD1.2 million, and was launched this year under the slogan “Jerash, decorated with joy”. 

As with each year, the festival will bring together local and Arab artists, and will include various activities.

It aims to spread an atmosphere of optimism, especially with the difficult circumstances that Jordan is facing in light of the global pandemic.

This year, Lebanese singers Majida Al Roumi, George Wassouf, Najwa Karam, and Hussien Al Deek, as well as Iraqi singer and composer Saif Nabeel, will join the festival. In addition, 70 Jordanian artists including Omar Al Abdallat, Diana Karazon, Nidaa Sharara, and Zain Awad will also take part in the festival, among others. 

(Photos: Amir Khalifa/ Jordan News)

The Jerash Festival coincides this year with the Kingdom’s centenary celebrations, which is why the festival’s organisers promised to set up a distinguished and lavish launch for the festival.

The festival that was hailed as one of the largest cultural activities in the region with millions attending, is a yearly event for Jerash.

It aims to enrich the cultural activities calendar in the Kingdom. The four-decade-old festival, founded by Queen Noor, was first held in 1981. 

The festival constitutes a unique cultural and social phenomenon and an vital economic and touristic event, with national, regional and global dimensions.

It conveys deep cultural and political messages, and plays a major role in revitalizing economic activity and tourism in the Kingdom in general.

The festival is also an economic and cultural boon to Jerash city and its residents. 

Over the past years, dozens of important Arab singers joined the festival’s line up, such as Fayrouz, Sabah Fakhri, George Wassouf, Muhammad Abdo, Najat Al Saghira, Saadoun Jaber, Warda, Samira Saeed, Marcel Khalife, Majida Al Roumi, Melhem Barakat, among many others.

On the other hand, the festival aims to also support local talents, and brings together dozens of Jordanian artists including emerging talents and rising stars. Consequently, the festival will open local artists’ performances to the public free of charge this year. 

(Photos: Amir Khalifa/ Jordan News)

Each year, the festival also attracts senior intellectuals and poets from various Arab countries who find it a great opportunity to participate in seminars, cultural evenings and specialized workshops, as well as present concerts.

The idea of the festival came out from an idea that was sponsored by Yarmouk University, which developed later into the popular Jerash Festival for Culture and Art, under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture

Jerash festival was able to transform the ancient city of Jerash into a city of cultural, in addition to its historical importance.

Year after year, the festival’s importance and impact grew as a summer fixture, accordingly, the government and private companies flocked to sponsor the festival, among them, Jordan TV, which is the official and exclusive media sponsor of the festival. 

The festival is distinguished by folk dance performances performed by local and international folk dance troupes, in addition to ballet performances, musical and poetry evenings, plays and operas.

An exhibition of traditional handicrafts is also held on the side-lines of the festival. 

For this year, due to the pandemic, the southern theater in Jerash city will only receive half its capacity of 5,000 patrons, while the northern theater will receive just 1,500 patrons instead of the usual 3,000.

As part of the health protocols observed by festival organizers this year, the festival’s executive director, Ayman Samawi, said the festival will observe strict health measures to ensure everyone’s safety. 

(Photos: Amir Khalifa/ Jordan News)

“Visitors need to install the Sanad application on their phones, and we will be providing hand sanitizers all over the festival and we will have new modern toilets,” Samawi said. 

It is worth mentioning that the festival that usually starts in July each year, is happening in September this year due to the pandemic.

According to the organizers, the preparation period was shortened to only two weeks this year, however, the participants were selected according to specific and precise criteria.

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