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Jerash ready to host culture festival — organisers

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Jul 16,2017 - Last updated at Jul 16,2017

Head of Jerash Festival Higher Committee Aqel Biltaji and Jerash Festival Executive Director Mohammad Abu Summaqa hold a press conference in Amman on Sunday (Photo by Ahmad Bani Mustafa)

AMMAN — One of the region’s oldest and leading cultural events, the Jerash festival combines art, culture and entertainment, all happening at nighttime in the Greco-Roman town. 

Scheduled to take place between July 20 and 30 in Jerash, and from July 31 until August 6 in Amman, Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts is now entering its 32nd year.

The festival comes in the same year as Jordan hosted the Arab Summit, which will see increasing participation from all Arab countries, Aqel Biltaji, head of the festival’s higher committee, said on Sunday.

In a press conference attended by the festival’s Executive Director Mohammad Abu Summaqa, Biltaji said that the festival will also include a seminar titled “Jerusalem in the hearts of Jordanians”, in light of Amman being the current Capital of Islamic Culture. 

The festival once again highlights the Kingdom’s “stability and security amidst a turbulent region”, the organiser told reporters, adding that the concerned authorities will ensure that the event will be held in a safe environment. 

Biltaji stressed the festival administration’s keenness to support the local community due to their “vital role” in making the festival a success, highlighting the role of Jerash Greater Municipality, Jerash Chamber of Commerce and the city’s cultural institutions.

He expressed appreciation for the government’s allocation of support as part of 2017’s general budget, in addition to other private financing.

This year’s festival will be characterised by a diversity of activities that will meet the expectations of all segments of society, Biltaji said.

The opening ceremony, which will be held at the ancient town’s Oval Piazza (main square), will include speeches, poetry recitals and an operetta performed by Jordanian singers, Abu Summaqa said.

Both the main, 3,000-capacity southern theatre and the 1,500-capacity northern theatre will host a variety of Jordanian and Arab stars, as well as international troupes, he continued.

Entry to the northern theatre, which is known for hosting international cultural and artistic performances, will be free of charge this year, the festival’s executive director noted.

The Oval Piazza, the “heart” of the festival, will host Jordanian, Arab and international folkloric performances.

The colonnaded street, the ancient main road also known as “Cardo”, will have exhibitions that showcase artifacts and handicrafts made by individuals and societies from Jerash and other Jordanian governorates, the organisers said.

When the festival comes to Amman, it will include activities related to Amman as the 2017 Capital of Islamic Culture, such as roundtable discussions on Jerusalem.

The festival’s administration has released a 3D video that illustrates the location of the festival, how it can be reached from different cities and locations of 10 free car parks. Visitors can download the festival’s app at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.imagine_amman.jerashfestival/ 

Information regarding the festival’s programmes is available at www.jerashfestival.jo and www.facebook.com/Festival.Jarash/.

The Jerash festival is held in the ancient Greco-Roman town of Jerash, 48km north of Amman, known in the past as Gerasa.

 

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

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