Schedules are updated every Thursday.

Christina Tkacik 13 May 2015

It’s Official: Street Festivals are a Thing in Beirut

It’s springtime in Beirut, which means you can’t swing a dead cat without running into a street festival. There was the Car Free day in Mar Mikhael in late April, Souk El Akel – a new food tasting event happening every Thursday in downtown Beirut, the Makdissi Street Fest two weekends ago.

And now we’re eyeing the Beirut Street Food Festival coming up on May 17 in Monot.

Now, I’m not usually one for crowds, but I love me some street festival action (and I know you do too). Here’s nine reasons these bad boys kick ass.

9. Flower head wreaths

(Image by Christina Tkacik for Beirut.com)

Street festivals are the one time in life other than first communion that it’s okay to wear a head wreath, like you’re a whimsical fairy or Jared Leto at Coachella.

8. It’s a feast for the eyes
There’s so much to look at during a street festival – people dressed in giant mouse costumes breakdancing, shiny pots for Turkish coffee, fresh food for sale, cute dogs and fat babies on their parents’ shoulders. There’s so much to see that people often forget to judge one another for hours at a time – a true miracle.

7. Cheap shit to buy

(Image by Christina Tkacik for Beirut.com)

Street festivals are a great time to score random crap you didn’t even know you needed – like a purse with a pug’s face wearing a mustache on it, or a t-shirt that says “Sorry I’m late,” or oversized cushions for the floor.

6. Free music
Sometimes the free music is bad – like out-of-tune 80s-coverband bad. Sometimes it’s bad and loud. Sometimes it’s so bad and so loud you can’t feel your face. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Either way, it’s free, so who cares?

5. Weird food
The food at street festivals isn’t always good, but it is different, and different is good! You can always spit it out and buy something else, because there are so many options.

4. You run into people

(Image by Christina Tkacik for Beirut.com)

You might run into your ex, sure, but it’s likely you’ll be in such a good mood that it’s the best time you possibly could have run into him. And you’ll look like such a babe with your flower headband on you’ll make him wish he hadn’t been such a jerk.

3. No cars
We all struggle with the basic act of walking down the street in Beirut. The sidewalks are crap to begin with – full of random holes and cracks. Restaurants co-opt the entire sidewalk into an al fresco dining area. Or a car will park on it. Frequently, motorcyclists will drive on the sidewalk, because they’re assholes. Not so during street festivals! No cars are allowed, and pedestrians reign supreme.

2. The world is your park
Beirut is famously lacking in public space. There’s nowhere to hang out in this town except for Starbucks, and Starbucks smells funny. This changes during the Street Festival, when suddenly it becomes okay to sit on the sidewalk.

1. Everyone is in a good mood

(Image by Christina Tkacik for Beirut.com)

Typically, let’s face it, we’re a cranky bunch. And we have reason to be. Old men whisper creepy shit to you, Hawk security guys yell at you at Starbucks, beggars make you feel like shit for not giving them any money. This all changes during a street festival, when suddenly, as if by magic, everyone is magically in a good mood, and even the cops stop brooding. It’s like we all got transported to Sweden, or they put Prozac in the water supply.