The festival opened with a concert for renowned pop superstar Nancy Ajram on Friday and Lebanese Armenian musician, composer and pianist Guy Manoukian will be the star of Saturday’s evening.

Hours before the start of the landmark Sidon International Festival on Friday evening, a threatening statement carrying the flag of the jihadist Islamic State group was circulating on social networking websites.

Sidon municipal chief Mohammed al-Saudi has however dismissed the statement as fabricated.

The statement comes after several Sidon Islamic figures voiced dismay over the festival, the first in the largely conservative city since the sixties of the last century.

“The city of Sidon has always been a city of an Islamic identity and good martyrs and honest men have fallen on this land,” the statement says.

“A handful of people have announced that they will organize a dance party in which alcohol will be consumed and scantily-dressed women will be present… and this, God willing, will not happen,” the statement adds.

“Do not test our patience… Our options are open, on land, in the sea and in the air. Water will turn into fire and the sky will turn into dust and all the singers, dancers and attendants of this party shall scream,” the statement says.

“Prepare your hospitals for the wounded and your graves which will not be able to accommodate your corpses,” the alleged IS statement adds.