The Middle East is well known for its contribution towards the world of music and art. With the variety of exciting festivals taking place every year in the Gulf, The Sherp lists out some of them you should definitely plan a trip for.
1. RedFest DXB, Dubai, UAE
RedfestDXB is a music festival organized by Done Events that began in 2013 and takes place annually at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. They usually have everything from street vendors to crazy installations. Over the years, they’ve had top artists perform at their festivals like Jessie J, The Script, John Newman, The Lumineers, Adam Lambert, Demi Lovato and much more. They recently won Best Music Event & Best Light and Sound Production at the Middle East Event Awards 2017.
2.Yasalam, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Now in its ninth year, Yasalam forms a program that unites Abu Dhabi in excitement and celebration and is the largest entertainment festival run by any race host city in the world. The festival includes weeks of activations, and to date has created incredible memories for over 2.5 million people. For this year’s edition, artists like Calvin Harris and P!nk will be taking the stage.
3.Istanbul Jazz Festival, Istanbul, Turkey
Formerly Istanbul Festival, this event is a cultural event held every July in Istanbul, Turkey. It offers a huge selection of jazz music performances with the participations of famous artists from all over the world. The festival was first held in 1986 and is organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. It has featured world-renowned groups and artists like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Stan Getz, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Sting, among hundreds of other top names in the music industry.
4. Jerash Festival, Jerash, Jordan
Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts is an annually held event held in Jerash, Jordan. It is part of Jordan Festival, that aims to enrich cultural activities in Jordan. It was founded in 1981 by Queen Nour and now features several shows performed by Jordanian, Arab and foreign artists. The festival is hailed as one of the largest cultural activities in the region.
5. Cairo Jazz Festival, Cairo, Egypt
In 2009, the first annual Cairo Jazz Festival (CJF) was founded by pianist, composer, and producer Amro Salah. He was strongly driven by the passion to celebrate Jazz and paying tribute to one of the unique forms of music that magically diffuses and overwhelms humans all over the planet. This year’s edition will take place from the 28th of September to the 30th September.
6.Dubai Jazz Festival, Dubai, UAE
It is the most rewarded music event in the UAE, receiving the “What’s On” Award for “The Best Festival” 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010, the “Best Public Entertainment Event in The Middle East” for 2008 and the “Best Marketing of An Event” Award in 2009 at the EVENT 360 “, the Time Out Award for the “Best Music Festival” in 2010, with the recent Ahlan! Best In Dubai Award as the “Best Music Event” for 2010. We’ll let these awards speak for themselves.
7. Wickerpark Festival, Batroun, Lebanon
Wickerpark is a grassroots alternative music festival that takes place in Batroun, Lebanon. It plays an exceptional role in the dynamics of the alternative culture in modern-day Lebanon and is considered to be the most laid-back, accessible and rewarding live music experience in the country.
8. Destination Dawn, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
Nothing sounds better than a 12-hour music festival on the pristine beaches of Al Marjan Island right? Destination Dawn has been throwing some amazing festivals usually starting at 5 pm and going on till 5 am. They had international hip-hop star Taboo (of Black Eyed Peas fame) and electro and progressive house DJ Juicy M headlining their previous edition in May.
9. Mawazine Festival, Rawat, Morocco
Mawazine takes place annually in Rabat and features top international and local music artists. The festival is presided by Mounir Majidi, personal secretary of the Moroccan King Mohammed VI. Majidi is also the founder and president of “Maroc culture”, the cultural foundation which organizes Mawazine and other events.
The 2013 festival was attended by an estimated 2.5 million people, which makes Mawazine the biggest festival in the world after Donauinselfest in Vienna. With 90 acts on 7 stages, it has the highest ratio of attendees per stage in the world. This year’s headliners were Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and Ellie Goulding.
10. Byblos International Festival, Lebanon
The place is believed to be the first Phoenician city, founded around 5000 BC. The festival is the biggest in Lebanon and attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. Alt-J, Yanni, The Script, Cee Lo Green, Slash and the Scorpions are just some of the major artists that have performed over the years at this festival.