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13 Jun 2015 10:00
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Cedars International Festival to be relaunched this year!

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After almost half a century, the Cedars International Festival will return this summer to Bsharri. The northern town will host several of Lebanon’s top artists as part of an effort to revive tourism in the district. The four-night festival will feature a wide range of musical and artistic performances. Pop and rap music, classical piano, and even comedy shows will be performed amid Bsharri’s beautiful scenery, with its fresh air and cool summer nights.

The event, held under the patronage of Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon and Bsharri MP Strida Geagea, president of the Cedars International Festival Committee, was announced at a news conference Tuesday. The theme of this year’s festival is “Language of the Spirit.”

“The launch of this festival dates back to the ’60s, when it played a significant role in displaying Lebanon’s civilized, cultural and artistic image, both locally and internationally,” according to Joseph Geagea, head of the Tourism Council for the District of Bsharri.

Wael Kfoury, Elissa and Michel Fadel will perform on the opening night of the festival Saturday, Aug. 1.

Abir Nehme, Father Khalil Rahme and the Notre Dame University Choir will grace the stage Sunday.

The following Friday, the Mafi Metlo comedy show and rap group Mn el-Ekher will both perform and the final night, Saturday, Aug. 8, will feature shows by Najwa Karam and Joseph Attieh.

The relaunch of the festival is aimed at revitalizing the area as a tourist destination, according to Geagea, who said he hoped it would encourage further investment in the district’s tourism sector.

Bsharri is a distinctive area, and plays host to a number of cultural, religious, and natural tourist destinations, including the Qadisha Valley, the home of Khalil Gibran, and the sacred forest of Arz al-Rab.

Pharaon praised organizers for reviving the festival, stressing the symbolism that it holds for the country and the importance of maintaining what he called an “exceptional political agreement on security.”

“Today we are witnessing some kind of threat [against this] exceptional agreement, to the political security of the country. We remind [everyone] that the agreement to protect the government, and the political agreement for security, has provided stability and allowed for tourism in the country,” Pharoan said.

Tickets are available through the Virgin Megastore, The Gibran Museum and Boueri Press.
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