By Erin Dunne
By Erin Dunne
Rabat – After a successful opening weekend featuring performances by international stars including Wiz Khalifa, Ellie Goulding, MHD and others, the Mawazine Festival Rhythms of the World was off to a good start.
For those who attended some of the many shows, it is easy to understand why: the free festival is easily accessible and the musical acts are phenomenal.
On Saturday night, Wiz Khalifa drew thousands of fans to OLM Souissi where the crowd sang along to the rapper’s iconic songs including “Black and Yellow,” “Sucker for Pain” and “See you Again.”
Other shows were more family friendly such as Sunday nights performance by Amadou & Mariam who encouraged the crowd at the Bouregreg stage to dance the night away. Concerts later this week include DJ Snake, Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato among others.
In addition to providing entertainment and access to internally known acts for Moroccans, the festival also boosts tourism to Rabat and, more broadly Morocco. According to festival officials, “a total of 3,000 direct and indirect jobs benefit from the festival.”
The Moroccan government also indicated that Mawazine “generates 22% growth in tourism turnover of Rabat.” This is an invaluable boost to Morocco, where the growing tourism industry increasingly generates a significate portion of the GDP.
Among the industries that directly benefit from the festival are retail, catering and transportation, all of whom see a dramatic increase in sales, sometimes as much as 30%, during the festival. In addition, the hospitality sector, in particular upscale hotels, see two to four times more reservations during Mawazine.
Mawazine also provides an important boost in international media for the Kingdom as stars and celebrities spend the week in Rabat. As Morocco hopes to increase tourism in the coming years, positive media highlighting cultural events is invaluable. While the festival is still mostly attended by locals, tourists are increasingly among the crowds.
The Mawazine Festival Rhythms of the World music festival, held in Rabat under the patronage of King Mohammed VI, draws locals and foreigners alike to performances at stages across Salé and Rabat. The majority of the shows are free to attended and cater to a wide range of musical interests.