The region isn’t particularly well-known for its music festivals, but with a string of new festivals having launched in recent years, the Middle East and North Africa are about to be everyone’s go-to music destination.
Whether you’re looking to see some of the world’s most renowned artists or discover the region’s best undiscovered indie bands, there’s a festival for everyone. And the best bit? They’ll likely be set against the Arab world’s most incredible backdrops like the Egyptian Red Sea views and the Sahara desert.
With warmer weather on the horizon, it’s time to get your plans in order.
Held on the coastal resort city of El Gouna, Sandbox is perhaps the most scenic music festival of them all. Now in its seventh edition, the four-day beachy festival has hosted some of the world’s most celebrated dance music figures from Dixon, Âme and Nic Faniciulli to Mike Servito to name but few. This year’s line-up (set to happen this June) has yet to be announced, but if previous editions are any indication, it’ll be one not to miss.
If bumming it on the beach isn’t your thing, luxury desert escapes are definitely the way to go—and Marrakech’s Oasis Music Festival is the place to be. Held in September, the three-day event offers a lot more than just a dance floor, with its swanky cocktail bars, spas and food offerings from the red city’s best restaurants. For this year’s edition, headliners include both Âme and Dixon, as well as local DJ Azzedine.
Dahab has always carried a unique charm, and with the first edition of Chill O’posite taking everyone by storm last year, the South Sinai town just got a lot more exciting. The new endeavour showcased the region’s coolest acts from the Jordanian DJ Sotusura, Lebanon’s El Morraba3, and Egypt’s own Sebezz & Ouzo. This year’s edition is due to take place in August.
Beirut and Beyond
Since its launch in 2013, Lebanon’s premier festival, Beirut and Beyond has dedicated itself to promoting local and international talent. The Oslo World Music Festival affiliate has seen some of Europe’s biggest acts, and not least the likes of Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan, indie Egyptian band Lekhfa, and Tania Saleh. Typically held in October, this year’s program has yet to be revealed, but we’ll keep you posted.
Photo courtesy of @theoasisfest