Lebanon’s Legendary Beirut & Beyond Festival Returns for 9th Edition
BBIMF is back from February 2-5 2023 with a lineup of nearly 20 MENA artists & 30 global industry professionals on the program of live music, panels, workshops and coaching sessions.
Photo Credit: Myriam Boulos
Since it launched in 2013, Beirut and Beyond has been a staple festival for the regional music scene with a thoughtfully-curated lineup each year, affordable and accessible admissions, in addition to what is proving to be a sustainable vision for artist showcasing and development.
Over the years, Beirut and Beyond has given stage to artists across the Arabic contemporary music landscape, making it one of few festivals to represent such a nuanced range of genres and styles coming out of the region. The festival’s programming often curates a selection that travels across indie-folk to left-field electronics, singer-songwriters, contemporary instrumental and jazz.
The festival has booked everyone from Alsarah and the Nubatones to Kamilya Jubran, Hello Psychaleppo, Yasmine Hamdan, Dina El Wedidi, Tania Saleh, Imed Alibi, Lehkfa, Erik Truffaz, Baskot Lel Baltageyya, Liliane Chlela, Mehdi Nassouli, and the list goes on.
Approaching its 9th edition, Beirut and Beyond has announced its full lineup for this year’s event, which will run from February 2-5th across multiple stages within two iconic venues, The Ballroom Blitz and KED.
This year’s festival pushes the genre-spectrum even further, with Tajrib Maqāmī, a project by musician and composer Ghassan Sahhab opening up the festival on February 2nd, followed by Nancy Mounir performing her critically acclaimed album, Nozhet El Nofous, where she reinterprets the works of Mounira El Mehdaya, Fatma Siri and more.
On February 3rd, The Ballroom Blitz will kick things up a notch with the live electronic performance project ‘xlmxkhfi’ by Sarah Huneidi, followed by the recent collaboration between Julia Sabra & Fadi Tabbal, performing their stunning and sombre electro-pop album, ‘Snakeskin’. The night will close with Ammar 808, the alias of Tunisian producer Sofyann Ben Youssef known for his electronic productions that mix deep sub-bass of a TR-808, moody beats, North African futurism, as heard in his latest endeavour.
Meanwhile, also taking place on the same night in the club’s The Goldroom, Yara Said aka Noise Diva will kick things with her unique musical stylings and productions that pull from Moroccan trap to Egyptian R&B and industrial electronics. Continuing on this curatorial thread through dance music, GLITTER55 presents a DJ set travelling across futurist techno, Moroccan chaabi beats, and lush soundscapes. Working under the moniker Willillah, Samaya Al Sablouny will close out the evening with a DJ set; her sound is known to seamlessly string together hardcore, industrial, acid core, breaks and more.
February 4th will continue to build on the momentum, where beat-driven music will take over the stage with hip-hop performances by 3Li, followed by Tunisian rappers, KOAST and ALFA, the latter of whom just released ‘Trips in Rehab’ which you can read the review of here. Perhaps one of the most impactful artists from the Palestinian hip-hop scene, Haykal is set to perform, followed by Gaouta, with a synth-wave and synthpop live show. Ko Shin Moon will close out the night with what the duo describe as “a crossroads between traditional Eastern strings and electronic music machines” that’s packed with psychedelia.
The closing night of Beirut and Beyond on February 5th will open up with NÂR, a Beirut-based musician known for her groundbreaking album, ‘What We Talk About: NÂR’, a body of four tracks whose vocals and sonic environment are mesmerising, and feel-driven by hauntology.
NÂR will be followed by Yazz Ahmed, a critically acclaimed trumpet player, composer and producer who has come to find a contemporary hybrid jazz sound that is entirely her own. The festival will close out with Sanam, a free-rock, post-folk sextet consisting of Sandy Chamoun, Antonio Hajj Moussa, Farah Kaddour, Anthony Sahyoun, Pascal Semerdijian and Marwan Tohme.
Focusing on artistic and professional development, Beirut and Beyond also offers a day program full of talks within various cultural spaces across the city in Fabrika, Mina Image Centre, Warehouse Mkalles, and Haven for Artists. Highlights include artist coaching sessions, and masterclasses to industry-focused sessions like, ‘Know What’s Right: Artist-Manager Contracts & Label Deals’ to taster courses such as the ‘Intro to Theremin with Nancy Mounir’, and artistic development with ‘Traditional Music Applied to Music Production.’
As media partners with BBIMF, stay tuned for SceneNoise’s exclusive coverage throughout the festival. To see Beirut and Beyond’s full programme and ticketing information, go to the festival’s page here.