Your Middle Eastern Festival Guide For 2019
Sandbox (Gouna, Egypt)
Egypt’s renowned electronic music festival Sandbox has been attracting international attention ever since its first edition in 2012. With bigger bookings and higher attendance every year, Egyptian promoters Nacelle are far from slowing down after expanding to two-stages in 2017, giving them the range to book both colossal acts and fresher underground talent from around Europe and the region. The dates for 2019 have been locked in but no line-up or ticket prices have been announced as of yet.
Oasis (Marrakech, Morocco)
What started out as arguably Morocco’s biggest music festival has now cemented itself on the global festival circuit as an essential electronic music event for people from across Europe and the Middle East. Taking place in Marrakech, Oasis has managed to bring in most of the artists that represent the electronic music status quo, from Carl Cox to Richie Hawtin to younger, more low-key dynamos like Avalon Emerson and much more. The first phase of the lineup has been announced, featuring Apollonia, OR:LA, Âme B2B Dixon, Jayda G, Horse Meat Disco and more. The first and second tiers of the pre-sale tickets have sold out before a single name on the lineup was announced.
Chill O’posite (Dahab, Egypt)
Chill O’posite is a cross-border endeavor by Jordanian promoters Next Us taking place in Egypt’s Red Sea retreat of Dahab. The festival prides itself on being a hub that equally supports undiscovered and established regional talent. Chill O’posite made a move towards booking internationals like Nick Warren and Just Emma in 2018 with plans to expand further in the coming years.
Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival (Beirut, Lebanon)
In partnership with the Oslo World Music Festival, the Arab region’s independent music festival persuaded its visitors with a different guest curator every year. In the past Beirut & Beyond showcased a variety of local as well as international names ranging from superstars to newcomers such as Yasmine Hamdan, Lekfha or Basel Zayed. The festival that usually takes place every December in Beirut will be celebrating its 7th edition in 2019 and so far there is no line-up or ticket price yet announced.
Orbit Festival (Tunisia)
Orbit Festival is basically a two day long rave in one of Tunisia’s biggest clubbing spots, El Guitoune, and a must go for all techno lovers. In its last edition, the festival invited headliners such as German DJ Monoloc next to local artists like Mind Magnetic to celebrate some real techno. Line up, ticket prices as well as the exact date for this year's festival haven’t been confirmed yet.
Gnaoua World Music Festival (Essaouira, Morocco)
Held in the Moroccan port city of Essaouira, the Gnaoua World Music Festival focuses primarily on the traditional and experimental Gnaoua artists of Morocco, turning the city on its head for several days thanks to several street performances and small stages. The lineup is varied, ranging from jazz and soul to rock and contemporary world music.
Cairo Jazz Festival (Cairo, Egypt)
The annual Cairo Jazz Festival embraces jazz music from all over the world. Especially appreciated for its comforting atmosphere, the event invites local and international jazz artists to the venue at the American University in Cairo for a jazz experience of a kind. On top, the jazz celebration includes after parties that take place in Cairo Jazz Club. Tickets or line-up are not yet announced.
Wickerpark Festival (Batroun, Lebanon)
Wickerpark is an alternative music festival based in the coastal town of Batroun in Lebanon. In September the event invites the region’s popular as well as on the rise artists for an eight day long celebration. Next to the concerts, the past festivals featured workshops like capoeira and instrument-making. For 2019, there have been no tickets or line-ups announced yet.
Atlas Electronic (Marrakech, Morocco)
August 29 - September 01
Under the theme of “where nothing you know is set in stone, the music, arts and culture festival already confirmed the dates for its fourth edition in the end of August/beginning of September. Known for its chilled and intimate vibes and stunning setting by the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains, this festival is a gem for everyone who enjoys camping in the desert, waking up to yoga and dancing to music all day long. Tickets started at 123GBP and the early bird ticket is already sold out. The (musical) programme will be released within the next months.
Moga (Essaouira, Morocco)
Moga is an electronic music festival which is held in Essaouira, a Moroccan port city that charms with its historic old town and its small hidden alleys. In 2018, the three day long event excited with a huge line-up of international and local headliners like Acid Pauli, Agoria or Amine K. Moga aims to combine the old with the new as futuristic electronic dance music meets with the traditional culture of the region like Gnaoua music, dance, art and even includes exhibitions, readings as well as film screenings. Tickets or line-up haven’t been confirmed yet.
Beat Hotel (Marrakech, Morroco)
March 28 - April 1
Morocco’s newest festival comes courtesy of the famous Glastonbury stage; Beat Hotel. Glasto’s main electronic music venue is bringing the standalone festival for the first time to Marrakech’s Fellah Hotel between March 28th and April 1st. Asides from a heavyset lineup of the biggest underground DJs, the festival will also focus on talks, workshops and cuisine.
3alganoob (Marsa Alam, Egypt)
In 2013 3alganoob was introduced as the first music festival that included camping in the region. What started off with a line-up of four bands and three movie screenings, significantly grew over the years. Instead of focusing on headliners, this festival is all about a deeper spiritual journey situated in the tranquil scenery of Egypt’s Red Sea. We are waiting for tickets and line-ups to be announced.