Oasis Festival in Marrakech has the distinct honour of being Morocco’s first-ever electronic music festival, and this year’s fourth edition of the event brought thousands to the lush gardens of the Fellah Hotel for three days of dancing, art, and immersive cultural experiences.
The festival’s three stages each provided their own distinctly unique vibes. The Oasis main stage was flanked by bamboo tree leaves and housed what was arguably the best performance of the weekend – DJ Koze’s three-house closing festival set which was helmed by &ME’s previously unreleased “In Your Eyes” EP and commenced with Koze’s own “Pick Up” before an encore of Kanye West’s “Ghost Town.” The Bamboo stage afforded a more intimate dancing space, and the new Mirage stage granted patrons a poolside soiree complete with floaties and lawn chairs. And although the festival was sold out, there was always room to breathe and comfortably boogie through any crowd.
Besides the top-drawer lineup of talent, which included the likes of Carl Cox, Honey Dijon and Damian Lazarus, Oasis Festival offered international attendees an authentic glimpse into Moroccan life. Between daily yoga sessions, a henna tattoo station and hookah lounge, abundant relaxation corners covered in colorful rugs and pillows, local cuisines, street food, and tea, Oasis truly showcased the best of both historical and modern local flavors to the festival denizens.
A partnership with the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden hosted an art exhibition titled “Flying Over Africa” alongside a panel from the country’s leading creatives Amine Bendriouch, Maya-Inès Touam and Mo Baala. And instead of hiding out backstage as many VIPs tend to do at festivals, the local fashion designer and style icon Bendriouch could be found grooving through the festival dancefloors all weekend, draped in his own avant-garde creations and embodying Marrakech’ unmistakable mystique.
An oasis is defined as something that serves as a refuge, relief, or pleasant change from the usual, and Oasis Festival certainly lived up to that name in diverting from the typical music festival path to create an enveloping, enchanting journey into Morocco’s customs, charm and lifestyle.
[Photograph by Ollie Simcock for Here & Now]