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Morocco’s Fes Festival: Music, mysticism and meaning


Get ready for flamenco guitar, social consciousness and Sufi mystics. The world’s most spiritual music fest kicks off this week.

By CNN Travel staff 3 June, 2013

Uzbekistan's Yuldusz Turdevia Ensemble

Uzbekistan’s Yuldusz Turdevia Ensemble performed at the 2012 Fes Festival in Morocco.

The official goal of Morocco’s annual Fes Festival (June 7-15) “is to harness the arts and spirituality in the service of human and social development, and the relationship between peoples and cultures.”

More than earnest academic discussions, Fes Fest is a blast of music and dance, a raucous gathering of some of the most talented and exotic musicians in the region.

Organizers say between 300,00 and 400,000 are expected to attend this year’s festival.

Titled “Love is My Religion,” the opening night concert is being directed by Spain’s Andre Marin and showcases renowned flamenco vocalists Carmen Linares and La Macanita, legendary flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, Morocco’s Amazigh songstress Cherifa and Sephardic singer Francoise Atlan.

American punk priestess Patti Smith is the festival’s closing act.

“Fes is the cultural, intellectual and spiritual cradle of Morocco, so it is significant that this annual festival takes place in the city,” says festival managing director Zebya Rahman.

Fes has been considered Morocco’s intellectual capital for centuries. In addition to the festival, visitors can check out the old medina and Dar Tazi gardens, or relax on Berber rugs and sip mint tea in atmospheric cafes around the city of approximately one million residents.

Fes Festival; June 7-15, 2013; tickets and information available on the festival website; most travelers arrive by rail or plane at Fes–Saïss Airport, located about 10 kilometers outside the city. Airlines that serve the aiport include Air Arabia, Air France, easyJet and Ryanair.

Author: Daniela

I will forever be grateful that I was introduced to the utility and beauty of hand crafted products early in life - from the symbolic motifs sewn into the coarse linen fabric of Croatian traditional wear to the colorful Kilim carpets that decorated the parquet floors in my grandmother's living room. I treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," the smell of the flower stalls in the open air market where my grandmother bought produce early every morning for the day’s meals and the summers spent at my great grandmother's where the village wags would come to gossip over thick, black Turkish coffee in her cool stone kitchen. Someone noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world - one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

2 thoughts on “Morocco’s Fes Festival: Music, mysticism and meaning

  1. I love the combo of music, mysticism, and meaning…

    • I do too. I haven’t seen it in person, but have watched on television. It is so uplifting and has such a positive feel. In my mind what they are promoting is the true religion – love.

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