Sounds of the summer: Make travel plans with music in mind

Arab pop-rock outfit Adonis will perform at the Baalbeck International Festival in Lebanon this July. (Supplied)
Arab pop-rock outfit Adonis will perform at the Baalbeck International Festival in Lebanon this July. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 June 2022

Sounds of the summer: Make travel plans with music in mind

Arab pop-rock outfit Adonis will perform at the Baalbeck International Festival in Lebanon this July. (Supplied)

DUBAI: After two-years of COVID-related cancellations, live music is back with a bang. Here’s where music lovers should travel to over the summer.

Glastonbury

Where: Somerset, England

When: June 22-26

What: Fifty-two years on from its debut (although it didn’t become an annual event until the 1980s), Glastonbury remains one of the biggest draws on the international festival circuit — not just for the 200,000 or so people who attend, but for the artists themselves. The festival retains a strong link to its hippie-era roots and attendees can often be as entertaining as the onstage activities. This year is a prime example of the wide net the festival casts, covering a dizzying array of genres and generations, with over 3,000 performers across 12 stages. Paul McCartney will become the festival’s oldest-ever headliner, while Billie Eilish will become its youngest. Kendrick Lamar is the other main-stage headline act. 

Other must-see acts: Sam Fender, Lorde, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Haim, Diana Ross, Elbow, Wolf Alice, Herbie Hancock, Megan Thee Stallion, St. Vincent, Idles, Foals, Pet Shop Boys.




Billie Eilish will become the festival’s youngest ever headliner. (File/AFP)

Roskilde 

Where: Roskilde, Denmark

When: June 25 – July 2

What: Scandinavia’s largest festival has many similarities to Glastonbury; it debuted just a year later and shares many of the same ideological roots, promising “music, arts, activism, camps and freedom” — a remit it takes seriously. It’s also a multi-genre event with artists that appeal to a huge age range with an emphasis on indie/alternative acts but happily includes mainstream pop artists too. It does offer a more diverse international lineup than many US or UK festivals too, like Brazilian pop icon Anitta this year. Even though it officially runs for eight days, the big names perform over the last four nights. Headliners are US rap star Post Malone; UK pop diva Dua Lipa; former Odd Future luminary Tyler, The Creator; and arguably the most influential rock band of the 2000s, The Strokes.

Other must-see acts: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Megan Thee Stallion, St. Vincent, Haim, Biffy Clyro, Arlo Parks, Chvrches.

Mad Cool Festival

Where: Madrid

When: July 6-10

What: This sprawling five-day festival in the Spanish capital pretty much guarantees a killer lineup every year. It doesn’t often book pure mainstream-pop acts, instead focusing on rock and electronica, with a heavy emphasis on alternative acts that perform long into the night. Headliners this year are Metallica, Imagine Dragons, Muse, Kings of Leon, and Jack White and there are some old-school throwbacks to whet the appetite of older indie fans, including the seminal Boston band Pixies. Away from the main stage, there’s “The Loop” featuring some of the best electronic music producers and hip-hop acts in the world, including Four Tet, Nina Kraviz, Flume, and SFDK.

Other must-see acts: Twenty-One Pilots, Placebo, The Killers, Stormzy, Queens of the Stone Age, Florence + The Machine, Nathy Peluso, Sam Fender, Royal Blood, Leon Bridges, Phoebe Bridgers, Deftones, Chvrches, Yungblud, Wolf Alice, Editors, Two Door Cinema Club.




Muse is one of the headliners this year. (File/AFP)

Ultra Europe

Where: Split, Croatia

When: July 8-10

What: One for EDM lovers, this glitzy three-day outdoor festival with multiple venues is an offshoot of Miami’s Ultra Music Festival that began in 2013 and attracts tens of thousands of revelers to the beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea. Headliners this year include Armin Van Buuren, DJ Snake, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Tiësto, Richie Hawtin, Nina Kraviz, Marshmello, Above & Beyond, and more.

Other must-see acts: Joseph Capriati, Marco Carola, Hardwell, Amelie Lens, Alesso, Vini Vici, Frank Walker.

Baalbeck International Festival

Where: Baalbeck, Lebanon

When: July

What: The summer months might close down events in the Gulf, but you can still get your music fix in the region, thanks to this long-running (the first event took place in 1955) festival in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, where artists get to perform in the stunning surrounds of an ancient Roman Acropolis and the audience is treated to an eclectic mix of classical, dance, theater, opera, jazz, modern-day world music and some great indie acts from the Arab world. Few details have been released by the organizers for this year’s event, apart from the tagline: “We Are Alive.” We do know that Arabic pop-rock outfit Adonis and flamenco guitarist José Quevedo Bolita will perform.

Pitchfork 

Where: Chicago

When: July 15-17

What: This is the festival you need to go to if you want to impress your fellow audience members at one of the other big-name festivals in two years’ time, when you’ll be able to say, “Oh yeah. I saw them before they were famous.” Aside from big-name headliners and some old-school icons, the festival features some of the best up-and-coming talent in the alternative music scene, from across practically all genres. This year’s headliners are The National, Mitski, and The Roots.

Other must-see acts: Spiritualized, Japanese Breakfast, Parquet Courts, Low, Noname, Earl Sweatshirt, Toro y Moi, BadBadNotGood, Lucy Dacus, Cate Le Bon.




The National will perform at Pitchfork. (Supplied)

Rolling Loud Miami

Where: Miami, Florida

When: July 22-24

What: There are four Rolling Loud festivals this summer: Toronto, New York, Portugal and Miami. The latter is the pick of the bunch. Rolling Loud bills itself as the “world’s largest hip-hop festival,” so if you’re looking for a wild mix of genres, this isn’t the event for you. If you’re a rap fan, though, with headliners Ye (or whatever Kanye’s calling himself by late July), Future and Kendrick Lamar and an impressive supporting cast, this has everything you need for a great weekend.

Other must-see acts: Lil Baby, Playboy Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Kodak Black, Ski Mask the Slump God

Lollapalooza

Where: Grant Park, Chicago

When: July 28-31

What: Founded in 1991 by Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell as a traveling festival primarily geared towards alt-rock fans, Lollapalooza is now held annually over four days in Chicago and has broadened its remit to include electronica, hip-hop, soul, and pop, in addition to its guitar-driven origins. This year’s headliners are Metallica, Dua Lipa, J. Cole and Green Day. Jane’s Addiction will also make an appearance.

Other must-see acts: Lil Baby, Jazmine Sullivan, Manchester Orchestra, Machine Gun Kelly, Glass Animals, Kygo, Doja Cat, Charlie XCX, Tove Lo, Sam Fender




This year’s headliners include Metallica. (AFP)

Primavera Sound LA

Where: Los Angeles

When: September 16-18

What: Primavera Sound originated in Barcelona and has built a reputation for booking stellar lineups of trending acts and established stars across a range of genres, with a focus on diversity and gender equality. This will be its first US version (plans to launch Stateside in 2020 were stymied by you-know-what) and it looks every bit as brilliant as its Spanish parent-festival. Headliners are Arctic Monkeys, Lorde and Nine Inch Nails.

Other must-see acts: Clairo, Stereolab, Faye Webster, Shygirl, Kim Gordon, Drain Gang, Low, King Krule, Jeff Mills


Emirati arts patron Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo receives prestigious award from Spain’s queen

Emirati arts patron Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo receives prestigious award from Spain’s queen
Updated 25 June 2022

Emirati arts patron Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo receives prestigious award from Spain’s queen

Emirati arts patron Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo receives prestigious award from Spain’s queen

DUBAI: Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of the Abu Dhabi Festival, has become the first Arab to receive the Reina Sofía School of Music’s prestigious medal of honor. 

The Emirati national, who was born to a Saudi father and a Syrian mother, received the award from Queen Sofia of Spain at the school’s academic closing ceremony in Madrid. 

Alkhamis-Kanoo was awarded for supporting the development of music culture and education, as well as for her outstanding support to the school.

When receiving the award, she dedicated her accomplishments to Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak — the wife of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, founder of the UAE — whose unwavering support she said “empowers women throughout the UAE.” 

Alkhamis-Kanoo, who was born in Beirut, founded the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation in 1996 and the Abu Dhabi Festival in 2004.

She has received numerous awards, including the Abu Dhabi Award and Abu Dhabi Medal (conferred by UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan), the UN-affiliated Women Together Award, the Aspen Institute Emerging Voice Award for Cultural Stewardship, and the Puccini Festival Foundation Award.

 


German model Toni Garrn weds in Elie Saab gown

German model Toni Garrn weds in Elie Saab gown
Updated 25 June 2022

German model Toni Garrn weds in Elie Saab gown

German model Toni Garrn weds in Elie Saab gown
  • Former Victoria’s Secret model wore a custom flowy dress cut out at the waist with a lace bustier
  • She exchanged vows for the second time with British actor Alex Pettyfer

DUBAI: German model and actress Toni Garrn tied the knot this week in Greece wearing an Elie Saab gown.

The former Victoria’s Secret model exchanged vows for the second time with British actor Alex Pettyfer in an intimate wedding on Monastiri beach.

For her special day, Garrn wore a custom flowy dress by the Lebanese couturier. The gown was cut out at the waist and featured a lace bustier. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONI GARRN (@tonigarrn)

“Yesterday felt like the most beautiful dream,” the star told her 3.6 million followers. “The beautiful natural wedding ceremony that was actually a full-on rock-climbing adventure … in the most delicate wedding dress made completely by hand.”

Garrn, whose runway debut was in 2008 for the Calvin Klein spring/summer show, shared a series of images on her Instagram of the tough trip she took to get to where her husband and the rest of her guests were standing on the cliff.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONI GARRN (@tonigarrn)

“The chances were actually around 50 percent I (and) the dress wouldn’t make it in one piece to where Alex and everyone else was waiting. I’ll never forget this day.”

The couple previously wed in October 2020 in Hamburg, Germany in front of family and friends.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONI GARRN (@tonigarrn)

In March 2021, Garrn revealed on Instagram that she and Pettyfer were expecting their first child together. “I’ve been keeping this secret for … pretty much 6 months exactly. FINALLY I can share my biggest news with you all,” she captioned her short pregnancy reveal video back then.

The couple welcomed their daughter Luca Malaika in July 2021.

Besides tying the knot, the couple also celebrated, over the weekend, Pettyfer’s first Father’s Day.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONI GARRN (@tonigarrn)

The new mom walked over 60 shows for prestigious designers including Stella McCartney, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, Dolce & Gabbana and Michael Kors.

Her first acting role was in 2017. She played the role of South African model Reeva Steenkamp in the movie “Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer.”

She also appeared on productions like the Marvel blockbuster “Spider-Man: Far from Home” and the German drama series “You Are Wanted.”

Garrn is not the first celebrity to wed in an Elie Saab gown. South Korean actress Son Yejin, the “Games of Thrones” star Rose Leslie and actress Debby Ryan have all chosen the Beirut-born designer to make their dream dresses.


‘Elvis’: Baz Luhrmann’s biopic steers clear of the shadows 

‘Elvis’: Baz Luhrmann’s biopic steers clear of the shadows 
Updated 25 June 2022

‘Elvis’: Baz Luhrmann’s biopic steers clear of the shadows 

‘Elvis’: Baz Luhrmann’s biopic steers clear of the shadows 

CHENNAI: Baz Luhrmann’s biopic of the legendary singer “Elvis” is lukewarm at best. 

Given Elvis’s legendary status, Luhrmann’s 160-minute work disappoints, largely because he has chosen to edit the piece so as to make it seem restless — a movie without a soul with frames flashing past so fast that there is no time to sit and savor the spectacle. 

The story is mostly narrated by Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), who as Elvis’s shrewd manager was as much responsible for the singer’s rise, pushing him to travel from Memphis to breathtaking heights, as for his fall. It is this strange and sometimes vicious relationship between a domineering Parker and the singer (played by Austin Butler) that the movie fails to explore — it merely skims the surface here and there and audiences are only given glimpses of how the young star was manipulated and controlled, with his dream of becoming a serious actor derailed by his manager.

The story is mostly narrated by Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), who as Elvis’s shrewd manager was as much responsible for the singer’s rise. (YouTube)

We do get a glimpse of Elvis’s early life, including his struggles, the influence of black music — which is a relief given the recent realization in the press and on social media that the star was indeed influenced by the music of black artists in an atmosphere of entrenched racism — his two-year military service in Germany and marriage to Priscilla, among other events. However, the director chooses to remain on the brighter side, with the rock ‘n’ roll legend presented as dashing and debonair until the very end, although that was not the reality. 

But what audiences are really here for is the music, and on that note “Elvis” fails to deliver. Presley’s own vocals were used in the later part, and Butler sings the early hits and does offer some electrifying moments, but the soundtrack could have been far more engaging. 

A magnificent Hanks manages to evoke the Jekyll-and-Hyde persona he plays with fair degree of conviction, although he does slip up now and then. Meanwhile, an equally impressive Butler as the hip-swiveling, guitar strumming, foot tapping king is often mesmeric but it is not easy to impersonate a man whose aura is still dazzling. The writing by Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce, and Jeremy Doner fails to give balance to the narrative and despite some engaging performances, “Elvis” is a bit of a let down.


Classic diners serve up a ‘blast from the past’ on Jeddah Season’s City Walk

Burger Circus and cake shop Butter will stay throughout Jeddah Season. (Supplied)
Burger Circus and cake shop Butter will stay throughout Jeddah Season. (Supplied)
Updated 24 June 2022

Classic diners serve up a ‘blast from the past’ on Jeddah Season’s City Walk

Burger Circus and cake shop Butter will stay throughout Jeddah Season. (Supplied)
  • In an American diner, Leung said, the menu offers a wide range of choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner. “We just wanted to focus on just two burgers, but in an American diner theme”

JEDDAH: Two classic 1950s-themed diner options from Hong Kong have made their way to Jeddah Season’s grand theme park, City Walk.

With vintage music in the background, staff in “soda jerk” uniforms, and a one-page menu of burgers, fries and shakes, Burger Circus offers visitors a “blast from the past” experience.

Burger Circus and cake shop Butter arrived on May 5 and will stay throughout the two months of the Jeddah Season.

Both outlets belong to Black Sheep, a Chinese company with about 35 restaurants in Hong Kong and one in Shanghai.

Jonathan Leung, operations director of Black Sheep, explained the concept behind both outlets, adding that it is “an honor” to be operating in Jeddah.

HIGHLIGHT

‘Burger Circus is a 1950s American diner. One of the co-founders of Black Sheep, Christopher Mark, grew up in Toronto, Canada, and his family used to own diners, so he spent a lot of time and growing up at a diner,’ said Jonathan Leung, operations director of Black Sheep.

“Burger Circus is a 1950s American diner. One of the co-founders of Black Sheep, Christopher Mark, grew up in Toronto, Canada, and his family used to own diners, so he spent a lot of time and growing up at a diner,” he said.

“So it’s a little bit of nostalgic childhood memories. He has always wanted to open a diner.”

In an American diner, Leung said, the menu offers a wide range of choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner. “We just wanted to focus on just two burgers, but in an American diner theme,” he said.

Burger Circus also offers two side orders, two milkshakes (vanilla and chocolate) and two drinks on its menu.

“We want to bring good food and good stories to Jeddah; we just want to do that,” he said.

“People in Jeddah or in Saudi Arabia are open minded to try new things. There’s room for everything here, we love it here,” he added.

Talking about Butter, Leung said the background story is about a single mother with two children, who works very hard at a diner to make ends meet.

“She’s strong and generous, but she’s also very sassy. That’s Butter,” he said.

“Burger Circus and Butter go hand in hand and go very well together, it sort of came from the same era; diners prefer classic American cake,” he added.

Luke Barry, culinary director for Leylaty Group, worked with Black Sheep in Hong Kong for six years.

“I’ve always loved Black Sheep restaurants. We have a very good relationship, so I thought Jeddah Season is a good opportunity to bring them here,” he said.

“They have 30 to 35 restaurants, niche burger restaurants that are very strong and conceptualized, and Saudi Arabia has a lot of room for what they do. They have amazing restaurants, from casual to premium to Michelin star,” he added.

Barry said that they tried to replicate Hong Kong’s Burger Circus in Jeddah as much as possible.

“We spent 16 hours painting a wall (that is identical to the branch in Hong Kong), the exact posters that you find in Hong Kong, and the uniform is almost exactly the same,” said Barry.

“It was very important to us to use the exact same playlist, to bring Hong Kong’s Burger Circus here,” he added.


From world firsts to rare nods, chefs of Dubai’s Michelin-starred restaurants celebrate big wins

From world firsts to rare nods, chefs of Dubai’s Michelin-starred restaurants celebrate big wins
Updated 24 June 2022

From world firsts to rare nods, chefs of Dubai’s Michelin-starred restaurants celebrate big wins

From world firsts to rare nods, chefs of Dubai’s Michelin-starred restaurants celebrate big wins

DUBAI: From the world’s first unlicensed restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star to one of the rare Indian eateries to get a nod, Dubai is now home to a host of Michelin-starred dining spots.

Arab News caught up with a number of the restaurants’ chefs to find out how they plan to celebrate and whether this means the heat in the kitchen is about to get hotter.

The chefs of 11 Woodfire, Torno Subito, Tresind Studio, and Armani/Ristorante, which all gained one star, described how it felt to be internationally recognized after it was recently announced that 11 restaurants in Dubai received a Michelin star — nine places won one star, while two restaurants received two stars.

11 Woodfire’s chef Akmal Anuar



The restaurant, located in Jumeirah, is the first unlicensed eatery to win a Michelin Guide star.

Its chef Akmal Anuar described the achievement as “huge.”

He said: “For me being Muslim, and to achieve this and to be on stage with everybody else, proves that nothing is impossible. I feel overwhelmed. I am very, very happy.”

Anuar plans to celebrate the milestone with his team next week.

“We will shut down one day and buy a cake. We will sit down, have a motivational speech, and get ready for the new era. This (win) wasn’t just me; it was my team. They all worked very hard for it,” he added.

11 Woodfire offers dishes such as black Angus steak, jumbo prawns with brown butter, Japanese eggplant, and Chilean sea bass, while priding itself on being committed to zero waste and following sustainable practices.

Torno Subito’s chef Bernardo Paladini



Chef Bernardo Paladini’s intention with Torno Subito, located in the Palm Jumeirah, was “to have fun and to open an audacious Italian restaurant with great food, quality ingredients, and vibrancy.”

He said: “In all honesty, this completely caught us by surprise. We really did not expect it and it is a result of four years of hard work. I feel elated, excited, and proud. I still cannot believe it.”

The chef gave credit to his team and pointed out that the award was not just for him, but for the hardworking staff that helped him on a daily basis.

Being a Michelin-star restaurant will not make Paladini change the concept of his eatery, or the prices.

“We will stay true to the roots of Torno Subito and maintain the restaurant’s identity. Pressure is good and we are very conscious of what it means to have a Michelin star and will do everything to maintain it,” he added.

Paladini’s recommendation to diners is to try the restaurant’s tasting menu which includes all of its signature dishes such as cocktail di gamberi, rock lobster roll, and Japanese beef.

Being an internationally recognized cook, the chef’s top tip for amateur cooks was to experiment. “Everyone can cook good food, but when you are able to show emotion and passion in the food, this is what makes all the difference.”

Tresind Studio’s chef Himanshu Saini



Not many Indian restaurants have Michelin stars and that is what makes Tresind Studio’s chef Himanshu Saini proud.

He said: “It feels surreal. Being among the few Indian restaurants in the world to have a star is a great feeling. We strive to break perceptions and showcase Indian food with a different perspective.”

The recognition has fueled up the chef and his team who now feel motivated to work harder. He wasted no time and immediately celebrated the award with his team after the Tuesday awards ceremony event at the Dubai Opera.

Talent may be important for chefs, but Saini pointed out that hard work beats it. “Work hard because that is the only way you can evolve as a chef,” he added.

He noted that the bar of expectation from his diners had now been raised.

“It is a good thing because it only motivates us and keeps us on our toes to keep evolving,” he said.

Tresind Studio has previously won the art of hospitality gong at the inaugural Middle East and North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 awards by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Armani/Ristorante’s chef Giovanni Papi

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by GIOVANNI M. PAPI (@gsupapi)

Armani/Ristorante restaurant is at Dubai’s Armani hotel.

The eatery’s chef Giovanni Papi said he feels “extremely proud and emotional as a Michelin star is a dream that each chef chases.

“We knew that Armani /Ristorante was invited for the Michelin guide revelation but (weren’t) sure about the outcome for our restaurant. But I feel confident that we are delivering the outstanding service and culinary experience at Armani/Ristorante all the time,” he told Arab News.

The restaurant, which dishes up modern Italian cooking in a luxurious atmosphere, is known for its signature dishes such as agnolotti del plin, a pasta typical of the Piedmont region of Italy, fish dish filetto di scorfano and agnello al mirto, a lamb dish.

If you plan to book a table at the newly crowned Michelin-starred restaurant, the chef suggests the signature chlorophyll risotto and Sicilian red prawns, along with the Armani/Ristorante La Sfera dessert.