June was a great month for music in Morocco with three stellar international music festivals taking place across the country. Morocco has been a crossroads of civilizations for centuries, and its unique mix of African, Berber, Arab and European heritage is evident in the musical traditions of this fascinating kingdom. Here are some highlights and videos from three major international music festivals in Rabat, Fes and Essaouira which drew thousands of spectators from across Morocco and the world.
Mawazine: Rhythms of the World Festival
May 30 – June 7 2014, Rabat
This 13th edition of Morocco’s largest music festival saw a record 2.6 million festival goers attending concerts by international stars like Justin Timberlake and Nancy Ajram in Morocco’s capital Rabat. A vast array of musical styles and countries were represented with equal parts East and West.
The Essaouira Gnaoua & World Music Festival
12 -15 June 2014, Essaouira
Set in the beautiful coastal town of Essaouira, the Gnaoua & World Music Festival highlights the Moroccan musical tradition of Gnaoua, which originated in Sub-Saharan Africa. In its 17th edition, the Gnaoua festival continued to celebrate its African roots with a mix of traditional Gnaoua performances and African fusion music.
The Fes Festival of Sacred World Music
13 – 21 June 2014, Fez
Over the past 20 years, Fez’s Festival of Sacred World Music has drawn 65,000 spectators to the city’s ancient medina, a UNESCO world heritage site. The festival promotes universal peace and cultural understanding by bringing together artists and music lovers from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.