Music festival supremos gather in Morocco

Music festival supremos gather in Morocco
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The people who stage music festivals around the globe have been getting their heads together at their annual European forum at Agadir in Morocco.

The European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals is the biggest federation of its type in the world, and gives organisers the chance to compare notes on potential artistic and administrative pitfalls, particularly with the current universal pressure on financing.

The president of the EFWMF, Alexandra Archetti Stolen, told euronews: “The challenges are always on different levels, I think for Europe, of course, the economical crisis is dramatic so I think this is a big problem with the sponsoring, with the public funding – in a lot of countries the public funding has been cut by 60 percent, by 80 percent. And the audience, the big crowds are disapperaring – festivals who have existed for many years are struggling.”

The forum also provided a prime opportunity to showcase Moroccan music to the people who book artistes for festivals around the world.

There were concerts and business meetings aimed at giving the Moroccan music industry a boost and helping the musicians secure appearances abroad.

Brahim El Mazned, the director of Timitar Festival in Agadir and co-organiser of the EFWWF told us: “Moroccan artistes face many barriers – not just Moroccan actually, but all southern artists have lots of problems selling themselves abroad. There are visa problems and so travelling becomes a pain. Morocco welcomes lots of international artistes but there aren’t many Moroccan artistes appearing abroad.”

Among those being showcased, the fusion music of the singer Oum; Haoussa, who have been at the forefront of Morocco’s music scene for more than 10 years; and “Ribab Fusion” from Agadir who paid tribute to their Berber culture

The group Daqqa Roudania, whose singing tradition goes back to the 12th century, sang away from Agadir in the city of Taroudant. The women’s group The Roudaniates also sang having already toured several cities in Europe.

Peter Hvalkof from the Roskilde Festival told us: “We have not finished yet (our selection) but there are a few artistes I will seriously consider for the coming festivals and also for the world music venue I am programming in Copenhagen.”

Bernard Aubert, the director of Marseille’s Fiesta des Sud added: “There’s really something to do around the new musical scene, I really love the DJs too. I love really traditional music, but that’s been around a long time. On the other hand, it seems important to me to support the new Moroccan scene and at the Marseille capital of culture in 2013 and La Fiesta du Sud we’ll schedule this type of new Moroccan music.”

Another band hoping to get a leg-up onto international festival stages is Casablanca’s “Hoba Hoba Spirit” which is already one of the most popular rock acts in Morocco.

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