Widen your expectations, let’s celebrate together!

As the Muscat Festival, the biggest publicly-held cultural and entertainment event in the country, set to begin on January 18 we try to weigh in some simple expectations from the public. Over the years, the event has moved to larger venues in Amerat and Naseem Gardens from Qurum National Park and festival grounds in Al Athaiba. Also, new activities are added every year and the organisers have kept it in mind to preserve the cultural and traditional ethos.
The theme for the Festival 2018 will be under the theme ‘Let’s Celebrate Together’ with a unique and enriching content.
While visitors to the festival are fine with the cultural and traditional events, they feel the progammes should be more interactive to encourage the participation of the general public.
Tour operators Oman told the Observer that the organisers should coordinate with the stakeholders from the tourism, travel and hospitality industry to make the festival attractive also for the organizers.
“In actual terms, it is just about paying moving around the venues, shows and the trip ends there. There should be incentives to bring tourists to the venue more than once,” said Ahmed Saleh.
“We should have more corporate participation because currently it is limited to stalls displaying their products. They should be encouraged to have special offers; raffle draws on-the-sport gifts that are tailor-made for the festival,” he said.
There is no need to compare with such annual festivals organised in other countries in the GCC, but we should dedicate the venues for various activities, especially shopping, entertainment and cultural zones, feel the Muscat residents and citizens.
“There is no need for an expensive extravaganza, but more interactive events with the on-the spot prizes. There should be some public-speaking or painting competitions,” said Rajani Mathre, a Muscat resident of over 15 years.
“Amusement parks are good attractions for kids, but there should be promotions through a possible festival Mobile App, competitions involving schools, etc,” felt Victoria, an expatriate from the UK.
According to the Organising Committee, the festival has made great efforts to develop perceptions, study proposals and select activities, with the participation of several parties.
To be held from January 18 to February 10, the festival will host a play ‘Walad Batinha’ starring Tariq al Ali and Abdul Rahman al Aql and a selection of Kuwaiti Theater stars on January 25-26 at the Al Madina Theater in the Qurum Natural Park.
The Lujinia Omani band will perform at the Madina Theatre of Qurum Natural Park on February 2, within the activities of Muscat Festival 2018.
The activities of the 24-day festival that will conclude on February 10 will be followed by the launch of Tour of Oman 2018 for six days on February 13.
The Oman Automobile Association (OAA) and Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) will also be host to a number of events, apart from the traditional venues.

Vinod Nair