With mild temperatures and sunny skies throughout the year, Morocco is awash with cultural events and music festivals all year round. But the spring and summer months take crowds and celebration vibes to a whole different level. Do you have a longing for a big feast, loads of dancing, or an insight into the history of Morocco? Festivals and street fairs offer excellent opportunities to have fun while familiarising yourself with the local culture. Here’s a look at Morocco’s forthcoming festivals to mark on your calendar before your next visit.
During this three-day long festival rose farmers celebrate the year’s crops and honor the nature of the Drâa Valley and the High Atlas range of mountains. The Rose Festival is almost as old as the first rose water distillery plant that opened in the town of Kalaat M’Gouna in 1938. Traditional music and dancing, local delicacies, and a parade of nominees for the Ms. Rose competition take place against the backdrop of rose landscapes. The costly beauty care products extracted from tons of rose petals attract the senses of visitors and locals alike.
When: May Where: Kalaat M’Gouna
Fes Festival of World Sacred Music
Launched in 1994, this ten-day long spiritual festival comprises round table discussions, art exhibitions, excursions, and open-air concerts by local and international talents. But what makes Fes Festival even more special are the iconic events’ venues such as the Jnan Sbil Gardens, the Dar Batha Museum, and the Bab al Makina plaza in front of the Royal Palace. The festival cherishes all faiths and musical traditions, and endorses mutual respect and collaboration on a global scale.
When: June Where: Fes
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Gnaoua Music Festival
Musicians from all over the world make the lineup of this four-day-long extravaganza in Morocco’s picturesque coastal city of Essaouira. However, the festival is first and foremost a tribute to gnaoua — a traditional genre inspired by the music and acrobatic dancing of the Berber ethnic group. Performances of gnaoua spiritual music, jazz, reggae, blues, and hip-hop take place on multiple stages, and last until the early hours.
When: June Where: Essaouira
Timitar Music Festival
This leading festival in the coastal city of Agadir celebrates the until recently underrepresented culture of the Amazighs (or Berbers). As in most Moroccan festivals, in the Timitar festival too, music fusions are more than welcome. Thus, every year about 50 local and international artists take the stages of three alfresco venues: Place al Amar, Place Bijaouane, and Théâtre de Verdure.
When: July Where: Agadir
Marrakech Popular Arts Festival
The Marrakech Popular Arts Festival has all the elements a visitor would expect from a cultural event, which celebrates the diversity of the region. From belly dancers, fortune tellers, and snake charmers to acrobats and musicians, festival attendees will be spoiled for choice. Most of the happenings take place at the El Badi Palace ruins while the Jemaa el-Fnaa square in the medina quarter also hosts some events.
When: June or July Where: Marrakech
Asilah Cultural Festival
Using the ruining walls of Asilah’s medina as a canvas, the Asilah Cultural Festival is among the most sought-after, progressive art gatherings in the region. In 1978, two friends and art lovers, Mohammed Melehi and Mohamed Benaïssa, invited a few artists into a street art show. Ever since international artists have been flocking to the village every summer to re-paint the murals on the whitewashed houses. Also, exhibitions, concerts, and workshops run throughout the month, and breath new life into the usually quiet village.
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