Faced with economic difficulties, Tunisians celebrate the return of the music festival

Algerian singer Nedjim Bouizzoul performs at the Carthage Roman Theater during the 56th edition of the Carthage International Festival on August 5, 2022. Photo: AFP

Algerian singer Nedjim Bouizzoul performs at the Carthage Roman Theater during the 56th edition of the Carthage International Festival on August 5, 2022. Photos: AFP Algerian singer Amazigh Kateb performs at the Carthage Roman Theater on August 5, 2022.

Algerian singer Amazigh Kateb performs at the Roman theater in Carthage on August 5, 2022. Photo: AFP

Over the past five weeks, thousands of people have flocked to the Carthage Roman Theater in the capital Tunis, patiently waiting for the show to begin. The return of the 56th Carthage International Festival (FIC) to Tunisia has brought people an unforgettable moment of joy in difficult times.

“After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, we have noticed a remarkable presence from the public. We are happy to see so many people thirsting for a return to normal life through art,” said Kamel Ferjani, director artist of the 56th FIC. , told the Xinhua news agency on Friday.

The FIC is a well-known musical event that has been held in the North African country since 1964. It takes place every year in July and August, with all performances performed in the Roman Theater of Carthage, a restored ancient theater located in the outskirts of the capital Tunis.

For 2022, a selection of 33 shows took place from July 14 to August 20, and Tunisia took the lion’s share with 15 shows, to which are added 18 shows from Egypt, Lebanon, South Korea, Switzerland and many other countries.

“We tried to ensure that all artistic styles were represented and of a high quality that appealed to all age groups, especially young people,” said Ferjani, adding that almost half of the shows were new shows debuting during the festival.

Ferjani said they worked against all odds to make the festival a success.

“We had to prepare under extremely difficult conditions, especially during the sixth wave of COVID-19 which hit the country in January and February.”

Mariam Ben Moulehom, a 21-year-old dental student, has been to the festival four times in the past month.

“I watched the opening ceremony, the concert of Saber al Rebai, who is nicknamed the prince of Arab song, enjoyed the piece Taqouta by Leila Toubel on the occasion of Tunisian women’s day and the Sufi performance the most famous in Tunisia, El Hadhra”, enthuses Moulehom. lists the shows she has seen.

“Every Tunisian appreciates the Carthage International Festival, one of the most important music festivals in the Arab world. It gives us a great opportunity to see a variety of national and international performances,” she told Xinhua.

Saber Kammoun, a fishmonger in his 50s, traveled nearly 270 kilometers with his family from their home in Sfax province to the capital to attend the festival for the first time.

“I love the relaxed atmosphere of the festival,” he said.

The festival provided Tunisians with more than beautiful melodies and shimmering costumes; for many, it has served as a respite from the economic challenges their country is currently experiencing.

The Tunisian economy has faced obstacles in recent years. Its economic problems, which had existed since 2011, worsened after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

In 2022, a stronger US dollar, driven by Federal Reserve rate hikes, increased the cost of imports. As a net importer of food and energy, Tunisia’s inflation, already exacerbated by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, continued to rise.

In July, Tunisian inflation reached 8.2%, the highest record since October 1991.

“I enjoyed the festival because it’s an opportunity for me to reduce the stress of everyday life,” Kammoun said, hoping he could return in 2023.

About Wesley V. Finley

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