JEDDAH: The Qimam Mountain Performing Arts Festival, which runs this week in the Asir region from Jan. 9 to 15, is a rich showcase of Saudi folk art.
The festival presents the ancient arts that have been preserved in this mountainous region — Qimam means summits — in the southwest of the country which has the highest peaks in the Kingdom.
The festival takes place in the palaces of Bin Mushait, Abu Sarrah, and Qasr Malik. The architecture of these palaces bears the same distinctive quality as can be found in the local folk art, Khaled Al-Took, a national tour guide, told Arab News.
Visitors can enjoy performing arts shows — including folk dancing — and poetry evenings, buy folk handicrafts and taste traditional food. They can watch a welcome dance that Asir dancers have long used to welcome performers from elsewhere, in an ancient local tradition.
“The festival will help promote these popular arts, connect younger generations with their heritage and motivate them to participate with pride,” said Al-Took.
Visitors can learn the mountain dances with their different rhythms and melodies and can even join in the fun.
The festival includes walking trips led by professional mountain guides.
There is also a visual arts exhibition that presents the creativity in fine arts in the region.
Qimam aims to promote the natural assets and cultural treasures of the region and enhance the presence of Saudi folklore globally while also supporting the local community in promoting their traditions.