News Column

Jerash festival attracts 'tens of thousands' of visitors — director

July 1, 2014

by Mohammad Ghazal | Jun 30, 2014 | 23:34

AMMAN — Tens of thousands of people attended the 29th Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts which witnessed an overwhelming attendance by Arab visitors, Mohammad Abu Summaqa, its executive director, said Monday.

This year's festival, which concluded on Saturday, witnessed a 15-20 per cent increase in the numbers of visitors compared to last year, Abu Summaqa told The Jordan Times over the phone.

"The activities of the festival this year were distinguished and attracted people from all walks of life. During the festival, we witnessed the attendance of large numbers of visitors from the Gulf as well as Arab Israelis," he said.

Concerts held by well-known Arab singers, such as Egyptian artist Mohammad Hamaqi, Lebanese artists Wael Kfouri, Najwa Karam and Elissa, and Palestinian Arab Idol winner Mohammad Assaf drew full houses, Abu Summaqa noted.

The waiver of the JD1 entry fee to the ancient Roman city of Jerash, 48km north of Amman, helped in significantly increasing the number of visitors, he said.

Meanwhile, preparations will start soon for planning next year's festival, which the director said is expected to feature more troupes, artists and participants.

This year's festival featured scores of folk troupes and Arab poets, in addition to local, regional and international groups from India, Cyprus, China, Greece and Azerbaijan, among other countries. 

In addition, the festival included a handicraft exhibition as well as a fair for food products with the participation of dozens of NGOs from the local community.

In 2011, the government revived the Jerash festival, which was first launched in 1981, after a four-year suspension.

In 2008, authorities had launched the Jordan Festival, a nationwide theme-oriented event under which the Jerash festival became a component, a move that faced bitter criticism from fans, artists and associations.

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Source: Jordan Times, The

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