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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Middle East region's oldest music festival gets under way

Lebanon's Baalbek event is celebrating its 60th anniversary

Steve Lukather, left, and Leland Sklar of Toto, who are appearing at this year's event. Reem Mohammed / The National
Steve Lukather, left, and Leland Sklar of Toto, who are appearing at this year's event. Reem Mohammed / The National

The Middle East's longest-running music festival opened its doors on Friday night (July 7), celebrating 60 years.

Held in the Roman Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek, Lebanon, the almost month-long festival brings Lebanese music and music, culture and heritage from the wider region to fans.

The opening night, as is tradition, was host to the 60th edition of the Lebanese Nights concert, which had a particular focus on young Lebanese musicians this year.

Ramy Ayach, Aline Lahoud and Brigitte Yaghi are among this year's guests, and will be performing classic Lebanese hits as well as their modern repertoires.

The festival's six nights of entertainment (July 7, 16, 22, 30 and August 4, 15) will also play host to a number of international stars, with 80s soft rockers Toto and multi-Grammy winning African jazz diva Angelique Kidjo among the global guests.

The East Lebanese town of Baalbek is host to some of the world's best preserved Roman temples, and the impressive historical setting has played host to some of the world's best performers including Ella Fitzgerald and Sting.

The Baalbek festival was founded in 1956 by then-President Camille Chamoun,and is still widely considered the most prestigious of the country's annual festivals, having welcomed the Arab world's musical legends such as Um Kulthoum and Fairouz.

For more go to www.baalbeck.org.lb