News: May 23 2015 | 12:00 PM

Jounieh’s lineup for summer is set to sizzle

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Gird your loins. Summer is around the corner and, if the news conferences are anything to go by, it looks as though the political tensions that characterize this region will not disrupt Lebanon’s annual slate of festivals.

“Since the creation of Lebanon,” Jounieh International Festival founder and president Neemat Frem announced at a Wednesday news conference, “it is with an enthusiasm mixed with caution that the Lebanese – driven by motivation and entrepreneurial spirit – have been striving, to overcome obstacles and conflicts.”

The committee of the 2015 edition of the Jounieh International Festival assured its audience that, as in previous years, it would provide an eclectic lineup of local and international performers.

The event will get going along the Jounieh bay on July 2 with the festival’s signature fireworks show. With more than 300 boats participating, a DJ and light show included in the mix, the display intends to be an extravaganza.

The opening ceremony will also feature the customary photography contest, which challenges both amateur and professional photographers to take the most stunning photograph of the night.

Celebrated Lebanese soprano Magida El Roumi, who last mounted the Jounieh stage in 2011, will return to the venue on July 4 for what promises to be an enervating performance of universally loved tunes.

A few days later, on July 6, Hiba Tawaji will return to grace the Jounieh stage for a second time. Tawaji, it will be recalled, was the Lebanese finalist of the French version of the talent program The Voice.

Ejecting a soupcon of Gallic humor into Jounieh’s high culture mix is Franco-Maghrebi comedian Jamel Debbouze. Reviving his successful show, “Tout sur Jamel” (All about Jamel), Debbouze is scheduled to perform July 8.

Dubbed “The French Elvis” by U.K. press, veteran musician Johnny Hallyday is becoming a fixture in Lebanon’s summer festival programming. This summer he’ll be in the midst of his“Rester Vivant” (Staying Alive) world tour when he rolls into town on July 9. It’s expected Hallyday will energize his die-hard fans with a medley of old and new tunes.

In a bid to distinguish itself from Lebanon’s slew of upcoming summer festivals, the Jounieh festival will offer audiences an alternative way to discover the city through a variety of free activities, games and parades that will be suitable for all ages, scheduled for July 10-12.

U.K. pop sensation Jessie J will end the festival with a bang on July 15. The chart-topping J is likely to attract hordes of younger fans
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