A normally crazy-busy, car-filled street was pedestrianised last night in the middle of Downtown for the annual night of live music: Fete de la Musique. It's an initiative started in France that has now become World Music Day in many other countries, including Lebanon. Always held on 21 June, Fete de la Musique was started in 1982 as a celebration of the beginning of summer, coinciding with the summer solstice. At the same time, the night of great voices and fabulous instruments aims to promote both amateur and professional musicians in a free-for-all environment.
Lebanon's version played itself out between 6pm (starting with a chamber orchestra performing in a church) and 5am this morning (ending with a psychedelic DJ playing in the Dome, a bombed and neglected former cinema space).
In between the angelic harmonies and trance-inducing beats, I spent two hours touring the different venues. This is what I saw (and heard)...
Shaba (folk) at the Samir Kassir garden.
Then I wandered to the Beirut Souks where I had to escape from the maddening sound of Ashekman (rap). The H&M sale proved a safer haven.
Youmna Saba (Lebanese folk) at the ancient, excavated Roman baths.
Homemade (rock) at Martyrs Square with Virgin Megastore as one backdrop...
Until next year... here's to a great summer 2010!