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Music festivals in Morocco

Don't forget, before your trip to Morocco, to look up the various festivals which take place throughout the country. You won't regret it!

Numerous festivals

Morocco is one of the few countries of the Maghreb and the entirety of Africa to celebrate a growing number of very significant festivals.

Throughout the country, year-long, but especially in summer, you'll be able to attend numerous cultural, artistic and musical events as part of your trip to Morocco, and so to discover the richness of the area's heritage.

To the North of the country, you have the superb Moroccan and Spanish fusion festival Alegria at Chefchaouen, which certainly merits a visit. On the Atlantic coast, you have the now internationally famous Gnaoua d'Essaouira – you'll be spoilt for choice!

Certain events are worth a trip entirely dedicated to them, such as the incredible festival of Sacred Music in the town of Fès.

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Sacred music

During your trip to Morocco, if you happen to be there at the right time, make sure not to miss the festival of Sacred Music in the town of Fès, to the North of the country.

This festival is without doubt one of the most incredible and magical in the entire world. The site itself is breathtaking, within the old town of Fès, in the middle of its palaces, gardens and interior courtyards, the setting for superb spectacles of dance, singing, and various other musical and artistic performances.

The programme is astonishingly eclectic and cosmopolitan: you'll be able to hear local Moroccan or Maghreb groups, but also international bands. Numerous other exhibitions take place throughout the duration of the festival, held in the numerous pleasure gardens in the palaces of Fès. It's a chance to discover local and global artists, such as the incredible calligrapher Hassan Massoudy, who performs there regularly.

But the one thing that has made this festival world famous is the fusion concerts, a mix of local and foreign, traditional and modern music, which sometimes take place in the small courtyards of the Medina quarter under the stars, and last the whole night. Unforgettable memories... 

The Gnaoua d'Essaouira

There are numerous modern and contemporary music festivals in the towns of Casablanca and Rabat, which welcome bands from all around the world, particularly in summer.

The most famous is certainly the huge festival of Gnaoua à Essaouira, which takes place every year in May and offers a very varied programme of world music and Gnaoua music.

The town is flooded with tens of thousands of tourists, not to mention the many Moroccans who come en masse from the four corners of the country to make the most of those tourists who are liberal with their holiday money.

The festival can be a very pleasant experience, but do always remember that you're in Morocco, keeping an eye on members of your group and on your belongings. There have been many reports of assaults, mainly against women, and of theft during the festival. I'd recommend travelling in groups of three or more, and not going out in the evening with a handbag or valuables.

Nina Montagné
137 contributions
Updated 29 March 2018