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Fun Summer Spectacles
July 31-August 30 | Cultural festival | Various locations

The heat is on as this festival comes into play, with a string of events planned throughout August to keep the whole family entertained.

Live it up at the Bahrain Summer Festival and rejoice in a bigger and better cultural display from artists from home and around the world. Returning for a sixth year, the celebrations are held under the theme of 'Summer of Colours' as part of the Year of the Arts and Manama: Capital of Asian Tourism year-long schedule of events and activities.

"Every year, the Bahrain Summer Festival seeks to make beauty our enduring language through which other nations identify and associate with us. We are engaging with the world's culture in all its forms, and sowing the seeds of joy in everyone through this festival," says Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa.

The festival continues its longstanding tradition of featuring outstanding acts from the worlds of music, literature, art and theatre, showcasing a range of entertaining shows that celebrate human achievement and facilitate cultural exchange between nations.

Summer offers
Whether you are a visitor to the island or a resident, several hotels around town offer discounts on room rates and services during the festival period.

Nakhool and Nakhoola, the popular mascots of the festival, invite kids and their families to Nakhool City at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre (BIECC). The venue is packed with shows, games and interactive workshops, with artists from across the globe focusing on entertainment, learning and development.

Nakhool City is open daily from 11am to 6pm throughout the festival. Call 33 566-579 or email .

Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy is inspired by nature and brought to life by an international cast of soaring aerialists, spine-bending contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians, with spectacular costumes and visual effects that bring the jungle setting to life. Shows run from July 31 to August 2 at the BIECC.

Kids are in for a family musical fun romp as they join Dora the Explorer and her friends in Dora's Pirate Adventure from August 7-10 at BIECC. The interactive voyage takes you through Treasure Island, where kids can help solve puzzles and navigate Dora's way in pursuit of the Pirate Kitties and the ultimate pirate treasure, all while avoiding the pesky fox Swiper.

Award-winning Iraqi artist Ilham Al-Madfai performs his signature blend of Western rhythms and Eastern folk songs at the cultural hall from August 13-14. Accompanied by his band, Madfai fuses Oriental, Latin and jazz tunes. The high-voltage international street dance sensation Blaze will crank up the power and energy of the festival on August 16-17 at the BIECC. A cast of 16 street dancers from around the world will pop, lock and break dance their way across the island to music from the likes of Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Kanye, David Guetta and Snoop Dogg.

Abood's Dream, the all-new UAE-produced show is a tale featuring the antics of the hero character Abood, who ends up in a fantasy adventure while looking after his grandmother's pet canary which, by the way, lives in a fish bowl. Abood is joined by the beloved grandmother of the animated show Freej as he meets new friends and learns valuable lessons along the way in this traditional family theatre experience with a local cultural twist. The show runs from August 21-24 at the BIECC.

A second concert at the festival comes from musical prodigies Chico & the Gypsies, the latest project of Jahloul 'Chico' Bouchiki, co-founder of the legendary band The Gypsy Kings. The group will perform flamboyant Spanish flamenco and rumba-infused traditions on August 26 at the BIECC, using the music to promote tolerance and understanding. .