Festival director Latifa Lakkis’ favorites
What’s the secret to Byblos Festival’s success? Hard work, all year round. Variety of the program to best satisfy the needs of many segments in the Lebanese market and abroad. Good organization in terms of management, logistics, hostessing and team work. The location of the venue and that the Byblos Festival is integrated in its city… Byblos. What’s been the most ridiculous backstage demand of an artist performing at byblos festival? Outrageously expensive wines and champagnes. Where is your favorite post-festival dinner or drinks spot in Byblos? Most of the restaurants and pubs in Byblos… each one has its own identity. Mashrou’ Leila will be returning to the Byblos Festival this year. Do you expect their concert to be bigger than before? We certainly expect a sell out for Mashrou’ Leila at Byblos. We’re really proud of what they [have] achieved. Where do you go to unwind following festival fever? A week on the beach at Eddé Sands (70 247555) or Le Phenix de Byblos (09 541400). In addition the Byblos region has many attractions for activities of all kinds for relaxation, tourism, culture, history, pilgrimage and eco tourism. Where would you take a band with 24 hours to kill in Lebanon before their concert? Due to the lack of time, a good Lebanese meal at Bab el Mina (09 540475, babelmina.com), Feniqia (70 542135) or Adonai Le Petit Libanais (70 236778); Beirut or Byblos sightseeing and some thrilling nightlife in the old Byblos Souks or Publicity area, are the winning formula for artists. Give us an idea of how the artist backstage area looks at Byblos International Festival. Like a bee hive in peak season. Where is your favorite place to go for a rural getaway beyond Byblos and why? The north or south of Lebanon. They both offer beautiful landscapes, hospitality of the local community, handicrafts and agro-food production. I like Tripoli for its cultural wealth, historical background and delicious pastry; Ehden for its great climate, restaurants and coffee shops; and Sour for its culture and great beach. Tell us about your hidden gem in Lebanon... one secret destination awaiting discovery. In West Bekaa you can find one or two places that have activities, sports and horseback riding in a great landscape, such as at the Villa Badih Chaarani ranch in Mansoura. Where is your favorite place for Sunday brunch? Byblos Sur Mer hotel (09 548000, byblossurmer.com). Where do you hit for a summer fish lunch? Any of Byblos’ restaurants located at the harbor such as Pepe Fishing Club (09 540213, Byblos Fishing Club – Pepe Abed). Where is the olive oil in your kitchen from? From Rihaneh Press [Mount Lebanon] made by Ramzi Mouawad (09 790210, 03 667855). Outside of the Byblos Festival, where do you go for your music and culture fix? Beirut’s theater scenes at St. Joseph Theater (01 202422) and Metro Al Madina (76 309363, metromadina.com), classical concerts at St. Joseph Church and to Pierre Y. Aboukhater Amphitheater located in Saint Joseph University.