Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 4 July 2020

Beirut & Beyond returns with colourful showcase of the Lebanese indie-music scene

The annual festival is back after it was initially postponed due to the ongoing protests in Lebanon

Lebanese electronic music artist Liliane Chella (second from left) will perform at the 2020 Beirut and Beyond Festival. Courtesy: Beirut & Beyond
Lebanese electronic music artist Liliane Chella (second from left) will perform at the 2020 Beirut and Beyond Festival. Courtesy: Beirut & Beyond

Beirut & Beyond will return next week with an all-Lebanese music line-up.

This comes after the annual music festival postponed its 2019 event, which was set to run from December 5 to 8, due to the ongoing protests across Lebanon.

The event now returns on Friday, February 28 and Saturday, February 29, with up to 25 local artists performing across a dozen venues in Beirut.

In an exclusive interview with The National, festival director Amani Semaan admitted the festival is downsizing this year, with no international artists booked to take part. However, this has created an opportunity for local bands to showcase their work in what could be the biggest platform of their careers.

“Due to limitation in budget, but mostly to complications in administrative, logistic and financial processes, we could not bring, like every year, artists from outside Lebanon,” she said. “Knowing that venues and artists have not been active recently due to the current situation, we created this home grown edition that aspires to support the local scene.”

Who is performing?

With more artists and shows set to be announced, the festival is headlined by Lebanese indie-music stalwarts Bachar Mar-Khalife, who will perform on Thursday, February 28 at Zoukak and Zeid Hamdan who will play the following night at Metro Al Madina.

Singer song-writer Pol will also be on hand for an intimate set on Saturday, February 29 at Brazzaville, while the day before will have jazz pianist Tarek Yamani and electronic music artist Liliane Chlela debuting their new project at Zoukak.

All the gigs are free. Semaan said this was done in appreciation of the tough economic situation facing many Lebanese today.

“All concerts are free of charge as we are aware of the economic challenges facing the Lebanese audience at the moment,” she said. “We still want the music to be accessible to everyone everywhere.

Business as well as play

One important feature of Beirut & Beyond remaining intact this year is its professional stream. With names still to come, Semaan stated that a 15 strong international delegation will take part in the festival to offer expertise on various best practices surrounding the live music industry.

The Dubai-based Spotify Middle East will also be on the ground, with bands able to sit in for sessions on how to best promote their music on the online streaming giant.

For more information, visit www.beirutandbeyond.net

Updated: February 17, 2020 02:34 PM

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