Singer Elissa, soprano Hiba Tawaji, composer Oussama Rahbani, trumpetist Ibrahim Maalouf and more than 50 musicians performed at the “Night of Hope” at Lebanon’s Forum de Beirut on Sunday night in the largest concert to be held in the country’s capital since the devastating explosion in August of 2020 that killed more than 200 people, left an estimated 300,000 homeless and caused more than $15 billion in damage. The Forum de Beirut was also destroyed by the blast, but has been rebuilt.
The concert, for which there was no admission charge, paid tribute to the families of the explosion’s victims in a brief video, and patriotic songs were performed as part of a broader call to unite the country, which has seen its economy devasted in recent years. Elissa’s appearance was a surprise, and a special tribute to the late composer, conductor and television personality Elias Rahbani was one of the evening’s highlights.
The concert’s sponsors included Universal Arabic Music; Weeknd/ Doja Cat manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby and his wife, human rights activist Rima Fakih Slaiby, both of whom are natives of Lebanon; the Abu Dhabi Group for Culture and Arts; and Medco. Slaiby is also the CEO of Universal Arabic Music.
In the wake of the disaster, the Slaibys launched #GlobalAidForLebanon in collaboration with Global Citizen and World Food Program USA, raising more than $1 million in just ten days. The Weeknd himself donated $300,000, the Slaibys donated $250,000 and Live Nation committed $50,000 to the relief fund.
The funds were dispersed among the Red Cross Lebanon, the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon and the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP).