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Katara Cultural Village has launched its 2nd Traditional Dhow Festival this afternoon, with song, dance and Qatar’s Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage hoisting a sail.

On from Nov. 13 to 17 at the Katara Beach, it’s touted as the only such festival in the region and features over 100 dhows – traditional wooden sailing vessels – on display.

The vessels are illuminated in a “light show” every night at 6pm, while fireworks are scheduled at 8pm nightly (including Tuesday). Besides poking around wooded boats, visitors will also be treated to live traditional music by performers from across the Gulf.

Here’s a clip of one performance:

Along the beach there are exhibitions setup from various Gulf countries, and visitors can avail themselves of daily cruises, workshops for kids, and dhow-building demonstrations. 

There will also be a pearl diving competition on Thursday and a rowing competition on Friday. See for registration.

Festivities get started at 9am on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, with a break between noon and 3pm. On Friday, it opens at 3pm and goes till 11pm.

Credit: Photos by Omar Chatriwala

A five-day music & culture festival that was scheduled to kick off at Katara Cultural Village next week, headlined by renowned pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, will no longer go ahead.

The statement issued by Katara last night said the second edition of the Music & Dialogue festival was cancelled “against the backdrop of the current political developments across the Arab region,” but didn’t elaborate any further.

It said those who’ve already purchased tickets would be refunded, and that Virgin Megastores will be reimbursing customers who bought passes through them.

In addition to Barenboim, the festival was to feature performances by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, co-founded by late Palestinian scholar Edward Said. “The Last Interview,” a film abou Said, was also to be screened, followed by a discussion with his widow Mariam Said.

Katara first hosted the festival, Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in May of last year.