The third annual Run The World Festival, a three-day event celebrating sports and creativity among youth in Qatar, opened this afternoon at Katara Cultural Village, with an Arab themed line-up of events including sword dancing, falconry and henna art, as well as performances from local musicians.
When it began in 2011, the event initially targeted Qatari youth, Shahla Sayeed, the deputy director of communications, told Doha News.
But this year, event organizers decided to branch out beyond Qatar, drawing in talent from the UAE and Kuwait. “We’re really trying to reach out regionally and internationally as well,” Sayeed said.
Over 800 volunteers from high schools around Qatar have also been recruited to participate. Many of them, like eighth-grader Daniel Gonzalez, found out about the event on Facebook and through friends.
Gonzalez works in the streets department, with the task of getting the audience engaged in the festivities with his skateboard. For him, the festival is an opportunity “to work with other types of people, not only in school but more social types of stuff.”
Today, attendees ranged from teenagers to families with young kids. Alaa, a mother of two young boys, brought her family “for a small outing” after receiving a text message from a local youth organization.
Her boys were most excited for the impromptu soccer tournament, which drew in a large crowd in the early afternoon. A beach volleyball game and cricket scrimmage were also under way, drawing in many festival-goers.
Sayeed expects around 35,000 people to attend over the course of the three days. The line-up for the following days includes an action packed schedule of Parkour shows, car spray-painting and extreme skateboarding.
“We’re expecting it to be huge this year. There’s so much excitement. We have so many plans and we’ve been looking forward to it for so long.”
The festival is free and open to people of all ages. It runs from 2pm to 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
Because activities are spread out across Katara, festival-goers will want to wear good walking shoes and dress for the chilly weather.