Streets decked with festoons, bright lights and flashy advertisement hoardings are just one of the signs that the ongoing Muscat Festival that runs till February 18 is in full swing in Oman.
This year, the spotlight is on Oman’s tourism assets and treasure, consisting of breathtaking natural environment, mountains, deserts, beaches and wadis, besides traditional music and folklore in the true expression of Omani rural communities and villages.
Though some of last year’s popular activities are repeated this time, 30 per cent of the events and shows are new. The Festival is spread over three main venues – Festival Plaza in Athaiba, Qurum Natural Park and the Seeb Beach. Among the first timers is the Gulf Heritage Village that caters to the whole of Gulf. Other than reflecting the Omani socio-economic heritage, for the first time AGCC countries are participating, that lends it a unique flavour. Daily events include Gulf folk shows, IT tent, family theatre, handicrafts exhibition, ice circus shows, amusement park, cartoon shows, etc.
It is but obvious that a number of activities are targeted at the young audience. The city amphitheatre is playing host to children’s theatre plays like Jungle Book and Ali Baba. Other than an abridged version of the story, the show is pepped up with acrobat performance, fire eating feat, jugglers etc. Given the limitation of enacting these plays on one stage, the aim has been to make the play more musical and interactive. For where else can the children have an opportunity to Boo out Sher Khan or click a photograph with Mugli or Bageera or a host of monkeys?
The adults are especially attracted to the Global Village at the festival Plaza in Azaiba where over 22 countries are participating – among others are UAE, Jordan, Egypt, the US, China, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Kenya and Tanzania. Other than attractive bargain deals on merchandise, these countries are also performing International folk shows where reputed music and dance troupes.