Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival has been postponed due to ongoing protests in Lebanon. The annual event, scheduled to run from Thursday December 5. to Sunday December 8, has been put on hold in solidarity with the protesters and their demands for political change.
Launched in 2013, Beirut & Beyond quickly established itself as one of the best showcases for the thriving independent music scene in the Arab world. Beirut & Beyond is modeled on Oslo World, the organization’s partner, and contains concerts and seminars that discuss the problems and challenges of the regional scene today.
“In light of what is happening in Lebanon at the moment, we have made the decision to postpone this edition of Beirut & Beyond for the time being, we have decided to strike in support of the Beirut movement in progress,” says Amani Semaan festival manager for Beirut and Beyond to the The National newspaper from the United Arab Emirates.
The country is in political and economic turmoil after nearly four weeks of nationwide protests that prompted Prime Minister Saad Hariri to retire on October 29.
Photo: Hassan Ammar / AP
The uncertain period that Lebanon is going through also presents a number of challenges when it comes to running an international music festival. Each year, more than 50 artists and industry players from around the world are invited to the festival. Due to the unrest, it is also challenging at an administrative level. Several ministries, public offices, banks, etc. are closed. The security situation is unclear.
This year, Oslo World had two cancellations due to riots and demonstrations around the world. Mon Laferte had to cancel her entire European tour because of the dramatic situation in Chile, and Liliane Chlela had to cancel her concert due to an arm injury that she sustained when she attended the big protests in Beirut on 17 October. Oslo World has long hoped to be able to carry out this year’s edition of Beirut & Beyond in Lebanon, but such a situation has not developed.
No new dates have been announced for the festival yet, but Oslo World hopes the situation will allow us to implement it in early 2020.
“The world situation has affected Oslo World to a greater extent this year than in previous years. There is revolution and rioting in many places in the world at the same time, in countries Oslo World has been deeply involved in.
We see that many artists are taking to the streets, demonstrating with their fellow citizens and demanding clear political change. Right now, this is a primary concern for the vast majority of our partners in Lebanon. We support the decision to postpone 100% and at the same time work to create an equally good festival over the New Year. ”Alexandra Archetti Stølen, Festival Manager Oslo World.
Beirut & Beyond, started as a promotional platform for the Arab region’s independent music with emphasis on strong artistic quality. It was founded in 2013, in collaboration with Oslo World.
Today, Beirut & Beyond is primarily a platform for meetings, a showcase for local and regional musicians, an actor presenting new music to the music-interested public in Lebanon, encouraging exchange, collaboration and networking (national and international).
The artists who have performed at the Beirut & Beyond festival over the years are primarily from the Arab independent music scene. The festival has also presented Lebanese stars such as Tania Saleh, Tarek Yamani and Yasmine Hamdan, Egyptian singer Maryam Saleh and Sudanese group Alsarah & The Nubatones. From Norway, among others, Bugge Wesseltoft, Trygve Seim, Frode Haltli and the band Gurls participated.