Gnawa Festival of Essaouira
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May marks the start of music festival season in Morocco, running until the end of August. Each festival is unique and caters to different tastes. For the young and hip, there is the Gnawa Festival in Essaouira, Timitar and the Boulevard of Young Musicians. For more refined tastes, there is the Sacred Music Festival of Fes, and Tanjazz. Mawazine has something for everyone with performances this year from Whitney Houston, jazz, arabian and gypsy artists, and new and classic Moroccan artists.

Read Rockin' the Casbah, the New York Times article on this year's Gnawa and World Music Festival

Mawazine World Music Festival

May 16 to May 24 in Rabat

This year, Mawazine has an eclectic lineup with special guest Whitney Houston performing on the 24th. The festival will have a strong jazz and gypsy influence for its seventh edition. For Moroccans, the most anticipated performance will be the reunion of legendary Moroccan artists Nass El Ghiwane, Jil Jilala et Lamchaheb.

Link: Official website

Tanjazz

May 28 to June 1 in Tangiers

Tangiers' jazz festival, Tanjazz, is host to some of the world's most accomplished jazz musicians. Musicians play at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues. Like Fes' festival, Tanjazz has a much more relaxed and slower paced atmosphere than the other festivals, allowing visitors to fully appreciate the performances.

Link: Official website

Fes Festival of Sacred Music

June 6 to June 14 in Fes

The most critically acclaimed of the Moroccan festivals, this festival showcases sacred musics from around the world. Also on the agenda are riveting talks on religion, culture, psychology, metaphysics, and anything in between.

Link: Official website

Boulevard of Young Musicians

June 19 to June 22 in Casablanca

L'Boulevard, as it's known in Morocco, is a competition for young musicians. But more importantly it's a fun, laid-back gathering of music lovers and indie rock, rap, fusion and electro artists from around the country.

Link: Official website, MySpace page

Gnawa and World Music Festival of Essaouira

June 26 to June 29 in Essaouira

More than ten years running and still as hip as ever, this festival draws a young, cult following from around the world. Gnawa music is the main draw, but accomplished artists of various genres from around the world come to play at this popular festival.

Link: Official website

Timitar Amazigh and World Music Festival

July 1 to July 6 in Agadir

In the same spirit as Essaouira's Gnaoua festival, the Timitar festival is a truly cosmopolitan experience, mixing traditional Moroccan music, music from other countries and newer Moroccan artists.

Link: Official website

 

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