The Baalbeck International Festival (BIF) is the oldest and the most prestigious festival in the Middle East.
In 1955, a cultural association organized the first activities within the Roman Acropolis.
In 1956, Camille Chamoun, then President of the Republic, founded the "Baalbeck International Festival" managed by twelve benevolent members. It became one of the government's institutions whose mission would patronize and encourage the country cultural and touristic life. Since then the BIF has been taking place annually during the months of July and August in the Roman ruins of the Baalbek Temples.
In 1966, the BIF started a drama school to promote Lebanese authors' works for the stage, confirming its role as a patron of the arts. The BIF evolved into a major cultural event celebrating classical music, opera, jazz, modern world music, Lebanese Nights, rock and pop music as well as ballet and theatre. Many of the world's leading artists appeared on our stages. After an interim (1975-1996), due to the Lebanese Civil War, the BIF came alive once again finding back its past glory with the top echelon of international, regional and local artists.
Dramatic lighting and a unique historic setting provided the background of the varied presentations, amazing 40,000 spectators each summer.
Owing to the highly volatile situation prevailing in the country since the latter half of 2006 and through the year 2007, the Executive Committee had to cancel all the representations in Baalbek. However, we managed to successfully hold in Beirut by early December 2006 three full house performances of the Rahbani brothers' renowned musical comedy "Sah El Nom" featuring Fairuz, the legendary Lebanese singer. Since August 2008 the BIF regained its place in the line of the most prestigious International Festivals.