Morocco’s nine-day music festival has grown and changed since it first started 18 years ago, but its underlying values remain the same.
Rabat – Over the years, Morocco’s Mawazine music festival has included more and more musicians from around the globe – as its eighteenth edition nears it continues to foster tolerance and respect of other cultures.
Even as the festival has evolved overtime, it holds true to its long-standing goal to “democratize culture.” The festival exposes as many people to different cultures as possible and, to nearly everyone, for free.
Maroc Cultures Association, also created in 2001, is a non-profit organization in charge of providing cultural experiences throughout Morocco – the Mawazine Festival and the youth music contest, Generation Mawazine are its main events.
More than half of Mawazine’s lineup is dedicated to Moroccan artists and it has historically served as a “springboard” for Moroccan musicians, granting local artists a global platform to share their work.
Mawazine also features music from throughout Africa, the MENA region, and around the globe. Over time, the festival has become more international, hosting well-known artists from around the world like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and The Weekend.
The popular international artists included in the lineup have served as ambassadors to Mawazine, drawing greater international attention to the event, Maroc Cultures Association president Abdeslam Ahizoune said in a written statement.
Collaborations between international and local artists, like the 2011 Arabic re-release of American Quincy Jones “Tomorrow” co-directed with the Moroccan producer RedOne, adds to the cultural mixing pot that characterizes Mawazine.
While the festival directly supports Morocco’s entertainment industry, it has also boosted Morocco’s economy, generating 22 percent growth in Rabat’s tourism throughout the nine days of music.
The association is committed to making culture accessible to everyone and 90 percent of the festival’s 2.5 million attendees go for free.
As Mawazine draws foreigners to Rabat to listen live, an additional 4 million people worldwide watch broadcast content from the nearly 600 national journalists and 160 international journalists in attendance.
“The media popularity is also accompanied by a presence increasingly noticed on social networks, a sign that the festival brings together youth around an ideal that is common to us: growing together and overcoming differences,” Ahizoune said.
This year’s festival will run from June 21st through the 29th and take place across six stages throughout Rabat and its neighboring regions.