Inaugural Arab festival offering brand opps

An event organizers are calling the 'Woodstock of the Arab world' will animate Old Montreal in mid-August.

On August 18-19, Araband Live 2007 will transform the Old Port of Montréal’s Jacques-Cartier Pier into an Arabian wonderland, where patrons can shop in an authentic Middle Eastern marketplace, learn about Arab culture and history through interactive pavilions and kiosks and enjoy music from the some of the biggest stars in Arab entertainment.

Some 12,000 people are expected to attend the showcase of 22 Arab countries, according to a spokesperson from the Montreal office of Edelman, which is handling PR for the celebration. But that estimate may be overly cautious, judging by the enthusiasm expressed in the festival’s viral element – more than 30,500 people responded to an online invitation to vote on which female Arab stars should perform.

The target demographic is both Arab and non-Arab families, and tickets have already been snapped up by people from as far away as Boston, New York and Detroit.

On offer to marketers interested in reaching festival attendees are a variety of brand exposure opportunities, including sponsorship of some elements of the event, signage, sampling and other forms of product placement. So far, the only broadcaster on board is Middle East-based Rotana, but MiC wouldn’t be surprised if a Canadian net decides to get in on the action.

Apart from what Toronto-based organizer ReignMan Music hopes will be an enjoyable time for all, its underlying vision for Araband is ‘to display to the North American populace a fragmented geo-political region brought together by the common link that binds them – the Arabic language and the universal language of music.’

Organizers are hopeful that Araband will become an annual event, not only in Montreal but elsewhere – and opinions on the possibilities are being solicited via a questionnaire on the Araband website.