Every two years, the Spring Festival blossoms in Cairo as interdisciplinary showcase of music, theatre, dance, poetry, cinema, and visual arts. Organised by Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy, this year's Spring Festival will run from April 24th – May 26th, and will be taking place all over Cairo and Beirut.

This year's theme will be focusing on Africa, bringing artists from all over the continent to Cairo in hopes of exposing audiences to a variety of contemporary African art. The opening reception was held yesterday at Cairo's Swiss Club. The reception was filled with entertainment, that began with a moving colloborated performance by Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School and musicians from Makan (Egyptian Centre for Culture and Arts) and El Mastaba center for Egyptian folk music. Following the collaboration, artists and performers lounged around the garden and began performing, creating somewhat of a busker festival feel. 

If the opening reception is any indication of what one can aspect from this year's program than this festival is not one to miss. This year's line up includes: El-Rass (Lebanon), Badiaa Bouhrizi (Tunisia), Nawal (Comoros Islands) among many others from African and the Middle East. Headlining the festival will be none other than South African sensation Miss Lira who will be opening the festival on 24th April at Cairo's Prince Taz Palace, and will also be playing on 26th of April at El Geneina Theatre in Azhar park.

Born in Johannesburg, and inspired by legends like Nina Simone and Stevie Wonder, Miss Lira has made quite a name for herself performing a fusion of soul funk and African music, as she has been writing songs since she was 16. Ten years later she is now considered a multi-platinum selling international award winning artist, and the only African singer to perform at US President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony in 2013.

Egyptians often believe they relate better with Middle Eastern countries than African, however, no matter what we choose to believe, Egypt resides in Africa, and as part of Africa it is important to understand and appreciate it's mosaic culture. That being said there will be no better way this month to broaden your African cultural knowledge, then by partaking at this unique biennial festival that guarantees not to disappoint.

Check out this trailer:

Schedule:

April 24 - May 25
Music, Theatre, Dance, Poetry, Visual Arts, Cinema & Workshops

Thursday April 24 - Music
Miss Lira - South Africa
8pm - free admission
Prince Taz Palace : 27 Seyoufeya Street, off Saleeba Street, Khalifa

Saturday April 26 - Music
Miss Lira - South Africa
8pm - ticket price : 20 LE
El Genaina Theater : Al Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa

Monday April 28 - Contemporary Dance
The Meal
Mamela Nyamza - South Africa
8pm - ticket price : 20 LE
Falaki Theater : 24 El Falaki Street, Bab El Louk

Red Zone Festival 2014

Thursday May 1 - Music
Turab - Palestine
8pm - ticket price : 20 LE
El Genaina Theater : Al Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa

Friday May 2 - Special event
Night to honor Nelson Mandela
Featuring speaker X
8pm - free admission
Poetry House : Al Azhar district, behind Al Azhar mosque, Atfet El Einy

Saturday and Sunday May 3 and 4 - Spoken World
El Rass - Lebanon, El Far3i - Jordan, Q - Malawi, Ali Talibab - Egypt, Ghazi Frini - Tunisa
8pm - ticket price : 10 LE
Falaki Theater : 24 El Falaki Street, Bab El Louk

Thursday May 8 : Theater
Capharnaüm by Latefa Ahrrar - Morocco
Points of Pain by Kate Pendry - Norway
8pm - ticket price : 10 LE
Falaki Theater
24 El Falaki Street, Bab El Louk

Saturday May 10 - Poetry
Michael Adel -Egypt, Muhammad Allughafi - Morocco, Walid Al Kubaisi - Iraq
8pm - free admission
Poetry House : Al Azhar district, behind Al Azhar mosque, Atfet El Einy

Sunday May 11 - Film
This is Not a Film
Directed by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
8pm - free admission
Falaki Theater : 24 El Falaki Street, Bab El Louk

Monday May 12 : Visual Arts
Fictional Museum by Mohamed Said Baalbaki - Lebanon
Photos from the Square by Heba Khalefa - Egypt
Opening night: May 12, 8 pm
Exhibit runs May 12 through May 25 - from 12pm to 10 pm
Viennoise Hotel : 11, Mahmoud Bassouni St. Downtown

Thursday May 15 - Music
Badiaa Bouhrizi - Tunisia
8 pm, free admission
8pm - ticket price : 20 LE
El Genaina Theater : Al Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa

Saturday May 17 - Music
Oliver Mtukudzi - Zimbabwe
8pm - ticket price : 20 LE
El Genaina Theater : Al Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa

Sunday May 18 - Music
Nawal - Comoros Islands
8pm - ticket price : 10 LE
El Genaina Theater : Al Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa

Tuesday May 20 - Theater
Monsters by Al Hamra Theater - Tunisia
8pm - ticket price : 10 LE
Falaki Theater
24 El Falaki Street, Bab El Louk

Sunday May 22 - Music
Zaki Ibrahim – South Africa
8pm - ticket price : 20 LE
El Genaina Theater : Al Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa

Saturday May 24 - Dance
Afreekanam - Senegal
8pm - ticket price : 20 LE
El Genaina Theater : Al Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa

Sunday May 25
Music
Aziz Sahmaoui and the University of Gnawa
8pm - ticket price : 20 LE
El Genaina Theater : Al Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa