For over 27 years, the Jerash Festival, lead by Queen Noor, was the Kingdom’s central cultural event. In 27 years it was canceled a total of three times: in 1982 during the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon and in 2006, due to the Israeli-Hizballah conflict in Lebanon. I’m not sure if the cancellation was out of respect for Lebanon or due to the fact that at least half of the performers in the festival are from Lebanon. In any case, this third cancellation seems to be due to, well, nothing really:
Countering â€œmisinterpretationâ€ by the local media of a recent controversial decision to hold Jerash Festival as only one component of the larger Jordan Festival, Bakir insisted the government had no intention to abolish the festival…
…The Jordan Festival will only serve as an umbrella for all summer cultural activities in various parts of the country, including the 27-year-old Jerash Festival, the minister explained.
But â€œdue to the shortage of timeâ€, cultural activities to be held in Jerash this season will be minimal, as part of what she called â€œedition zeroâ€ of Jordan Festival.
â€œThere will be no Jerash Festival this year, but cultural activities and musical concerts will be performed in the ancient city as part of the Jordan Festivalâ€™s concept,â€ she explained [source]
Has the Jerash Festival been co-opted by a bigger and better festival? And even if the two festivals were to go on existing in the years to come, wouldn’t that be redundant? Having one festival in July and another in August, both of which overlap and both of which have pretty much the same types of artists and the same names? Won’t there be a preference for the Jordan festival leading to the death of the Jerash festival?
Granted, the Jerash festival is something that requires some desperate revamping but to cancel or co-opt it once and for all?
I suppose the real question I suppose is: does this cultural move feel just a teeny, weeny, bit political?
Because it would be a shame to play politics with something that has been established as tradition in the Kingdom…
In any case, the Jordan Festival, which starts next month, will have a few international stars that might spark the interests of some. Jazz sensation, Diana Krall will preform as will, opera king Placido Domingo, as well as David Lynch, whose movies I have yet to understand, and the Lebanese artist Mika, who has written some of the most terribly annoying songs that have plagued local radio for the past 2 years including Relax, Take it Easy and Lollipop.