Morocco sounds like music. And best of all: to a wide variety of music. From traditional folk melodies and dances to modern and international rhythms, including spiritual and vintage sounds. And all of this is reflected in Morocco’s variety of music festivals, spread throughout the annual calendar. In this post we highlight some of the most important ones.
Essaouira Gnawa Festival
The Gnawa Festival of Essaouira is probably the most prestigious and famous of the whole country. And it is so because its cornerstone, Gnawa music, is a manifestation of music and dance protected by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is usually held in early summer in this beautiful Atlantic city, specifically in its Moulay Hassan square, although lately it has been ‘decentralized’ and also offers shows in other cities, such as Marrakech. Moreover, it no longer focuses only on this Moroccan music, but also welcomes many other folk music from the rest of the world.
Festival of Sacred Music in Fez
Fez is the ‘spiritual and religious capital’ of Morocco, so it is no coincidence that it hosts the great Festival of Sacred Music, not only of this country but of any other, so it is considered a great event of twinning between different cultures and religions. For this reason, throughout its dozens of editions there has been space for manifestations as different as Gregorian chant, Sephardic music, flamenco or dervishes. It usually takes place in the month of September.
Tanjazz in Tangier
Tangier was the most cosmopolitan city in Morocco in the first half of the last century. And it still retains much of it, thanks among other things to its privileged location in the Strait of Gibraltar. For this reason, jazz has a natural place of welcome here. Its most emblematic streets are filled with performances, organized or spontaneous, as usual in this musical genre, where improvisation and emotion go hand in hand. Jazz groups from all over the world, especially from the United States and Africa, congregate here, often in early autumn.
Jazzablanca in Casablanca
Tanjazz is not the only jazz event in the country: Casablanca’s Jazzablanca is also one of Morocco’s music festivals revolving around this universal genre. In this case, it is usually organized in June and in recent years artists such as Mika, Beth Hart or Nile Rodgers have performed here. In fact, it ‘s not all jazz that plays on its stages, but there is also room for pop and rock.
Mawazine in Rabat
Finally, the capital organizes what, for many, is the most interesting modern and urban music festival in Morocco: the Mawazine of Rabat. At the beginning of summer, its stages usually host emerging and internationally acclaimed artists, as was the case a few years ago with the Spanish Rosalía or the Colombian Maluma. After a break due to the pandemic, this great musical event, with a large presence of young audiences, has resumed its programming with more energy if possible.
If you are passionate about music, traveling with Chic Morocco may be your best choice. Not only can we integrate one of these Moroccan music festivals into your program (if the dates coincide), but we can also organize private shows or make you part of one of them, such as Gnawa music performances in the Sahara desert. So if this is your passion, don’t hesitate to let us know and explore the possibilities to enjoy a musical experience during your trip.