Travel & logistics FAQ about Levitate circus arts festival
Are you ready to Levitate? We certainly hope so! We’re stoked about this new collaboration for Aerial Edge and the Middle Eastern summer circus arts convention. You’re invited!
Aerial Edge Founder Mark Gibson will be teaching at the Lebanese festival, along with another of our favourite collaborators, Adilso Machado from Brazil.
Levitate was founded last year by Judy Salloum, guest instructor for our full-time Foundation Course. When her time with us comes to an end in June, she fly to her home country Lebanon to finalise the festival organisation.
Where do I fly to?
Is there any documentation required?
Just a straightforward single entry tourist visa, which you can get on arrival free of charge.
Your passport must be valid for at least three months from the date of entry to Lebanon (some sources say six months).
If your passport contains an Israeli stamp, you may be refused entry even if you hold a valid Lebanese visa. You may apply for a second passport to avoid this.
British Overseas Citizens, British Protected Persons and people of Palestinian origin need to get a visa before travelling. Guidance may change at short notice so check with the Lebanese embassy before traveling.
How do I get the local currency?
Forget it! Take US Dollars instead. The Lebanese economy is in crisis so the exchange rate fluctuates all the time. Dollars are widely accepted and more reliable. Don’t use credit cards, stick to cash. You can’t pull cash out of ATMs, so get your Dollars before you travel.
Will there be internet?
Check your mobile phone roaming contract. You can buy a local SIM card at the airport or mobile phone shops in Beirut and set yourself up with WhatsApp etc. WhatsApp calling works in Lebanon.
How do I get from the airport to the festival venue?
You can get an Uber! Levitate organisers can also arrange a carpool so check with them who else might be arriving around the same time as you.
You’ll have to pay cash rather than through the Uber app. Careem is another app that works the same way, or you can use one of the taxi services below. The price will vary from 20-30USD.
Most drivers speak English so you can arrange a pick-up before you travel via WhatsApp, and there’s wifi in the airport so you can connect with them when you land.
As with many airports across the world, there are taxis loitering outside, but they are best avoided.
Alternatives to Uber and Careem are here:
- Allo Taxi +961 1 517 070
- Geryes Taxi +961 1 333 666
- Elegance Taxi +961 9 333 332
- Snow Taxi +961 3 583 068
- Charlie Taxi +961 1 285 710
- Relax Taxi +961 3 952 293
What is included in the price of the festival pass?
Tuition, accommodation, bottled water, three meals a day…and unlimited joy. Sunshine! Beautiful scenery, and a starry sky. And, of course, new friendships and creative exchanges.
All passes give you access to the gala night showcase and the opportunity to perform in the open stage night. If you’re coming for the 5-day or 4-day intensive, you can also appear in the ensemble performance if you want.
Workshops include aerial, acrobatics, acrobalance, dance, prop manipulation, juggling, unicycle, handstands, clowning, circus conditioning, flexibility, yoga, aerial movement, act creation, rigging and safety.
Snacks will be available to buy at the festival site.
I have food allergies/intolerances, can you cater for that?
Of course. When you’ve booked your ticket, you will be sent a form about dietary requirements.
What’s the accommodation like?
You can book a place in the shared rooms in the beautiful, spacious villa, or bring camping kit and pitch your own little patch of paradise in glorious gardens with a gorgeous mountain view.
Either way, there are shared bathrooms and showers, a large kitchen and plenty of living spaces. You’ll probably spend most of the time outdoors though.
There are three rooms available, one sleeps four, one takes eight people and the other sleeps 20. You’ll sleep on a fresh mattress with sheets and pillows supplied.
What should I bring?
- US Dollars.
- Your favourite snacks etc if you’ll struggle to get by without them.
- If you love your own yoga mat, then bring it, although there will be some available there.
- Clothing suitable for LOTS of physical activities in this climate, and your skin type (ie do you burn easily?).
- Whatever makes you happy! This is a festival, right? So bring your mojo!
What’s the weather like?
Fabulous! For that time of year, the average temperature hovers three or four degrees either side 30 degrees, and it’s dry heat, not humid.
It is safe to travel to Lebanon?
The tourist areas are safe, but it wouldn’t be your best idea to go near the borders with either Syria or Israel.
There are around 2.5 million tourists a year travelling to Lebanon, and it has some beautiful beaches, along with world-class cultural, natural and historic sites.
There may be some electricity outages but that’s to do with the economy and it’s usually resolved soon enough.
If you want to backpack around, this website is quite useful.
Can I turn this into a beach holiday?
Absolutely! It’s an excellent place to enjoy the Mediterranean. Not only will you have a great time, you’ll be adding vital funds to the local economy.
What else is fun to do?
Gemmayze Street, Hamra Street, Mar Mkhayill Street and Mono Street in Beirut are filled with restaurants and bars.
For restaurants, try T Marbouta, the Grand Meshmosh, Em Sherif Café, The Village, Loris or Bar Tartine.
There are plenty of nightlife choices! Try Ballroom Blitz, Garten, Amelia Beirut, AHM, Grand Factory and BO18.
Raouchi is an upscale district of Beirut known for its cliff-side cafés which line Avenue de Paris.
There’s also plenty of cultural exploration in this historic country, known for its amazing climate, beautiful landscapes and the best food in the Middle East.
Byblos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient sea port is about 25km north of Beirut, which is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Jeita Grotto is a wonder of nature – two limestone crystallised grottoes stacked with stalactites and stalagmites which have been sculpted naturally in different shapes, sizes and colours over centuries.
Baalbek, previously known as Heliopolis, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will be amazed by some of the finest the archaeological remains of imperial Roman architecture. It’s about 65km from Beirut.
Balou Balaa is a massive waterfall at Baatara Gorge which drops 250m into a cave of Jurassic limestone, which has three natural bridges connecting it from side to side.
The mountain village of Bcharre is yet another UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can find rock-cut monasteries among the wild flowers and wildlife, and “the cedars of God” which has great religious and historical significance in the cultures of the Middle East, and is referenced many times in the literature of ancient civilizations.
There’s so much to see around Batroun, including a Phoenician wall, a cathedral, fort, restored ancient manor house at a winery, and beach resorts including Joining, and Pierre and Friends.
You may think of Harissa as a spicy sauce, but it’s also a key Christian pilgrimage site in Mount Lebanon, where you can find the shrine to Our Lady of Lebanon.
You can also try paragliding, and wine tasting which can be a great experience, especially at Anjar, Ksara and Kefraya.
Check out Lebanon Traveler website for more.
Where can I stay in Beirut?
Meshmosh Hotel Imm Nazih Pool d’etats Saifi Suites Arthouse O-Monot There are also Airbnb options.
Further afield there’s Le Royal Hotel Beirut, Regency Palace Hotel or Burj on Bay
OK, I’m in! How do I book my pass?
Great! You can buy it via Paypal: EU: firstname.lastname@example.org CA: email@example.com
Interac also works, or use Western Union to Judy Salloum - Lebanon
Where can I donate to help with costs of Levitate not covered by tickets?
Thank you for thinking of this, every donation is gratefully received and will help circus to bloom in Lebanon and beyond. You can donate here.
How do I contact festival organisers if I need more info or help?
You can DM Judy Salloum via the Levitate Instagram page @levitate.leb