Since its beginning in 2011, Mawazine has steadily got bigger and bigger and currently draws millions of people to Rabat each year for a celebration of music and breath-taking performances by both Moroccan and international superstars.
With only a few weeks left to this year’s edition, we were wondering how much everyone knows about this iconic festival. Here are 10 facts to bring you up to speed.
1. Promote Morocco’s ‘openness’
As well as promoting global love for music, Mawazine Festival was founded to open up Morocco to the world as a tolerant and accepting country.
2. The 2nd biggest festival in the world
Mawazine is the biggest music festival in the world after the Donauinselfest which takes place in Vienna, Austria. The Festival is attended by millions of people annually, and it keeps on beating its own attendance record year after year. It also has the highest ratio of attendees per stage in the world according to MTV.
3. The King validates the list of performers
Mounir Majidi, the personal secretary of the King, is the president of Maroc Cultures, the organization behind Mawazine Festival. It is reported that the list of artists performing in the event is approved by the King himself. Does Mawazine reveal His Majesty’s musical taste, we wonder?
4. The Festival has known 2 eras
The first one, from 2001 – 2007, dedicated the Festival to the music of the world genre, or the ‘local music from out there’ as it is sometimes described. The second era, starting from 2008 till present day, focuses more on mainstream music.
5. Admission is free, but you can buy tickets as well
Most of the concerts, workshops and shows you can attend free of charge, but you can also buy tickets if you want to attend certain shows or want access to spaces near the stage. Tickets vary between 100-1200 MAD.
6. 11 killed in stampede at Mawazine
In 2009, Mawazine Festival turned tragic with a deadly stampede. Eleven people lost their lives while forty were injured as they tried to make a quick exit from a concert at the Hay Nahda stadium.
7. 40 countries, 5 continents
People from all over the world participate in Mawazine. More than 2.5 million spectators attend the festival and more than 38 million people view it on television.
8. Funding controversy
There has always been much criticism when it comes to the source of funding for Mawazine. Critics say that it is funded by state-owned companies, money that should be spent elsewhere. However, the management of Mawazine claims that the event does not levy any public funds.
9. A must-see Festival
As a tourist, if you happen to be in Morocco at the time of the festival, you should make sure you attend it. TripAdvisor lists Mawazine as a must see in Rabat.
10. Some of the big names who have performed at Mawazine are:
Whitney Houston, Scorpions, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Shakira, Jessie J, CeeLo Green, Justin Timberlake, Pharrel Williams, Jennifer Lopez, Maroon 5, David Guetta among others.