Visitors share memories

921290By Vinod Nair — MUSCAT: FEB 7 – Long-time residents and citizens of Muscat Festival share their memories of the event that started more than a decade ago. Then the biggest of the two venues used to be in Azaiba (near The Almouj Muscat) and at Qurum Natural Park. The Azaiba venue was the first to be moved out to Naseem Gardens, followed by the Qurm Park venue being shifted to Amerat, the new emerging suburb of Muscat. “I am happy that it moved out from Qurm Park because the traffic management used to be a major problem and it used to take hours to move out the parking lot after the event. But at the same time it had a wonderful pond in the middle, followed by events at the amphitheatre,” said Sanjana, who has not missed the Muscat Festival since 2003.
“Although both the venues used to be smaller than the ones that we have now, there used to be much more variety of events and participants from foreign countries. I remember a Lebanese cook performing live, fashion shows by young Omani entrepreneurs at the newly-opened Sahwa Park in 2008 and a series 921291of acrobatic shows. The Global Village at Azaiba used to be the best of all for shopping,” said Chaitaniya, who used to visit the annual event from Barka.
“Shifting to a venue like Naseem Gardens was a boon for people like me because of the convenience. Also parking facilities are much better but I feel the number of events have been reduced and so the participation of artists from countries, namely Africa, Central Asia and Far East,” he added.
“The economic crisis of the last two years certainly has had some impact on the festival and its offerings. But it is the case with the other sectors too. With oil prices improving and more importantly the introduction of Mwasalat buses, it can get only better and bigger now,” said a past member of the organising committee.
With the festival now entering into its last lap, all eyes are now on the Tour of Oman, which is set to follow immediately.