In its 5th edition, the Drums Festival kicked off Friday night with several performances themed around the topic “Drums for Peace”. Attempting to promote tourism and merge musical cultures, 25 different countries took part in this year’s edition. The festival started at the Citadel’s Youssef Theatre with the performances of different drum troupes that took a tour around Moez Street while presenting their hometown music to the public.
The festival is organised by the ministries of culture, tourism, and youth and sports, in cooperation with the ministries of planning and international cooperation. For seven days, until April 26, drum troupes from African, Asian, and European countries will perform different art shows combined with each other.
This year’s edition witnesses the participation of India and Ecuador as special guests for the festival, along with countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Sudan, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Romania, Nigeria, Algeria, Africa, and China. It also sees participation from Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia.
The festival was founded by the prominent Egyptian artist Entsar Abdel Fattah. A number of historical and cultural places were chosen as the backdrop for hosting the shows, including Sultan Al-Ghuri Complex, the cultural palaces of Banha, Port Said, Bahteem, and Moez Street, the Talaat Harb cultural centre, the children’s civilisation and creativity centre, and a number of theatres, such as Al-Midan Theatre at the Cairo Opera House.
This year, the Drums Festival honours several musical and cultural figures, including Fayza Soliman, the first female from Upper Egypt to establish a local art troupe, as well as prominent artist Ahmed Mounib.
The festival mainly uses drums because they were originally used during wars and for marching, so the founder aimed to take an instrument that was originally used for warlike purposes and use it to invoke a combination of art and happiness.
The idea of the festival came up in 1990; however, it was not until 2012 that Abdel Fattah was able to turn his dream of welcoming the beauty of international drums art to Egypt into a reality.
Photos by Asmaa Gamal