Everything You Need to Know About Music Festivals in the Arab World!
Of all the things I enjoy doing in my life, attending a music festival could be hands down my absolute favorite! Literally, everything about music festivals could make anyone happy. It’s like the three days or the week you’re spending at the festival is a sweet escape of anything that bores you from your life.
Music festivals differ from one another, but there are some things that are common among most of them that make people happy other than music. For example, the colorful setting and decorations that instantly appeals to one’s eyes and heart. Also, the chill and happy vibes that are always all over the place that make people extra-friendly, talkative, and super nice; as some people feel a shared sense of identity between the attendees of the same festival. Moreover, fashion enthusiasts definitely enjoy the fashion statements made at festivals. Not to mention, the wild performances of people playing with fire and light pongs that are usually just attendees of the festival.
Usually, Europe and the Americas are the hottest spots for some crazy music festivals, especially in the summer. But recently, some music festivals in the Arab World are making it to the map of big international festivals; you wouldn’t believe the names that performed in this year’s Mawazine Festival that takes place in Rabat, Morocco. The weather of the Arab World makes the place fit for music festivals almost all year long! That’s why you’ll see mad ones being organized in April and October and not just in the summer. One other great thing about attending a music festival in the Arab World is that it’s relatively way cheaper than those of the west.
Here are some music festivals in the Arab World that you should mark on your calendars and try to attend at least one every year.
Mawazine Festival, that takes place in Rabat, is one of the oldest music festivals in the region, dating back to 2001! Moreover, the Moroccan festival is the second largest music festivals in the world after Donauinselfest in Vienna; with an estimated 2.5 million attendees in 2013! The festival has nine stages that witnessed the performances of some of the biggest names in the world; like Shakira, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Rihanna, Led Zepplin, and Scorpions. 2018 had a five-star line-up; as the main eventers include The Weeknd, French Montana, Chainsmokers, Bruno Mars, Nancy Ajram, and Ahlam!
One of the highlights of my 2018 was attending my first ever Sandbox Festival. Sandbox takes place in one of the most beautiful places in the Arab World, El Gouna! It dates back to 2013, and it gets bigger and better every single year. It’s organized by Nacelle, the masterminds behind some of the hottest event in Om el Donia. The line-up this year included some of the biggest local and international Electronic DJs like HVOB and Charlotte de Witte!
Baalbeck International Festival
Baalbeck International Festival was launched in 1956; making it literally the longest running music festival in the Middle East. The Lebanese festival celebrated its 60th birthday in 2016! Musical Legends of the Arab World have performed in the festival before; including Om Kalthom and Fayrouz. International Music Legends have also performed in Baalbeck, like Ella Fitzgerald and Sting.
3alganoob is one of the most chill music festivals in Egypt. It was created in 2014 in the magical Tandoba Bay, Marsa Allam. Because of a split between the owners, 2015 witnessed another version of 3alganoob that took place in Soma Bay, Hurghada, and although there was a sandstorm on the first day, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. 2018’s line-up included Karakeb, Shahira W El Nas El Khatira, High Dam, Strawberry Swing, DJ Akladios, and Janan.
The relatively new music festival is solidifying itself in the regional music scene, as its second edition this year was a huge success. Wasla Festival takes places in the United Arab Emirates, and it focuses on leading independent Arab musicians in the region; like Cairokee, Mashrou’ Leila, Autostrad, Hayajan, and Tania Saleh.
Desert Dance Festival
Desert Dance Festival is a psychedelic music festival that was founded in 2012 in Nuweiba, South Sinai! Next October, the 2018 edition will take place, and the line was just announced recently. Super excited to attend it this year, and hope it’ll be as good as expected.
RedFestDXB is an annual festival that takes place in Dubai since 2014. The fifth edition in 2018 witnessed many International Icons; like Chainsmokers, Marshmello, Crag David, and Kesha! Throughout the years, Artists like Sean Paul, Demi Lovato, Bastille, Adam Lambert, and Fifth Harmony took the RedFestDXB stage!
Chill O’posite started in 2017 and showed very promising potential after the huge buzz of their second edition this summer! The festival is powered and organized by the Jordanian team, Next Us, and the Egyptian crew behind the success of 2018 is RushZone. The super chill festival takes place in Egypt’s most magical city; Dahab, Sinai! The festival gathers some of the best artists from the region.
Orbit Festival is a techno music festival that takes place in Tunisia since 2016! This year’s lineup included Monoloc, SHDW & Obscure Shape, and Vaal.