Earlier this month, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Ministry of Culture announced that they were joining forces to organize Qena’s first cultural festival, according to a press release by the Egyptian government.
Set to kick off on the 27th of February and run until the 3rd of March in the town of Dendera in Qena, the Dendera Festival will feature a number of music concerts organized by the Cairo Opera House, according to local media reports, and showcase a wide range of traditional Upper Egyptian arts.
The festival’s events, exhibitions and performances will be held in the Qena Culture Palace, the South Valley University campus and the Dendera Temple complex, home to the Temple of Ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor and one of Egypt’s most well-preserved archeological sites.
According to Egyptian News website Dostor, entry into the festival is free of charge and the launch event will be held in the Dendera Temple on the 27th of February with live performances by Egyptian band Black Thema and veteran singer Medhat Saleh. The following day will see performances by soft rock Egyptian group Wust El Balad and singer Ali El Haggar.
The third day of the festival will see a special tribute to musical legend Umm Kulthum with a performance by singer May Farouq at the Qena Culture Palace, which will also host performances by Deena El Wedidi and Nesma Abdel Aziz on the 1st of March.
The final leg of the festival will take place at the South Valley University campus with live performances by Hisham Abbas and Massar Egbary on the 2nd and 3rd of March, respectively.
This comes as part of a targeted effort by the government to attract cultural tourism, develop Upper Egypt and improve living standards and promote tolerance in one of the country’s most impoverished regions.
In a press release issued by the Ministry of Culture earlier this month, Minister Eman Abdel Dayem said that the Dendera Festival is part of President Sisi’s vision for 2020, which he declared to be the year of culture and awareness, adding that the state cultural initiatives are aimed at confronting extremism and intolerance, as well as “spreading enlightenment and achieving cultural justice among the people of the country.”
According to the press release, the two government agencies will also begin working on organizing another cultural festival in Upper Egypt, namely in the Tel Basta region in Zagazig, Sharqia.
Last year, it was announced that the Dendera Complex would be developed and converted into an open museum, as apart of a joint initiative between the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and a French archeological mission, according to Egypt Today.