With each passing Spring, Bahrain continues to show itself as a vibrant, welcoming destination for travelers – one that offers a diverse range of events and activities underscored by its unique culture and history.
Now in its 13th year, the Spring of Culture festival has become a highlight of Bahrain’s entertainment calendar. Launched in February at the Bahrain Fort site and museum, the two-month long event brings together leading local, regional and international talent. Its success is one of many factors that led the Kingdom to be named the number one expat destination in the world by InterNations (2017).
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) plays an important role in bringing the festival to life, in association with the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), the Shaikh Ebrahim Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research, Albareh Art Gallery and La Fontaine Art Center of Contemporary Art.
For the EDB, the festival and its role in promoting tourism is an important strand within the Kingdom’s broader economic diversification strategy. Commenting on the festival HE Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive, EDB: “The continuous support from both the private and public sector towards the Spring of Culture festival reflects the importance of this annual international event, as well as strong overall confidence in the growth potential of Bahrain’s tourism sector.”
“Tourism contributes more than six percent to our GDP, and that growth is set to accelerate further as the industry benefits from nearly USD 13 billion in tourism infrastructure investment”.
This year’s edition of the festival is particularly significant as it formed part of BACA’s celebration of Muharraq, the Capital of Islamic Culture in 2018. Visitors will be able to deep-dive into Bahrain’s history and experience the stories of this ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meanwhile, the ancient Bahrain Fort showcased its interactive Sound and Light Show – a narration of its ancient history from the Dilmun era to today.
These celebrations were complemented by other cultural performance elements, including a rare opportunity to see the Epic of Gilgamesh at the Bahrain National Theatre. Written and composed by Abed Azrie, this must-see show was inspired by Sumerian Mythology.
The festival featured a full schedule of shows ranging from pop artists like James Arthur (UK X Factor winner) and superstar Rita Ora, to Jerusalem Arabic music, Korean orchestral music, and Fjiri music – a unique folk music rooted in the Kingdom’s deep pearling history. Visitors were also able to attend performances by Etnopolis and Mezzosoprano Laura Capretti, two exceptional duos from Italy who performed Italian folk and European classical, respectively, as well as by Moroccan singer Karima Skalli who gave her renowned renditions of classical Arab poetry.
Families also had the chance to spend quality time immersed in theatre inspired by some of the world’s most famous children’s stories, including Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvelous Medicine, and Eric Carle’s timelessly popular picture book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
All this and a whole lot more made Bahrain’s most active and anticipated festival another beaming success, and there’s still more in the coming week.