Wednesday May 22nd, 2024
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XP News: The Best Summer MENA Festivals to Keep On Your Radar in 2024

From Morocco’s Timelapse to Egypt’s Sandbox, here is your guide to the hottest MENA summer festivals happening this year.

Riham Issa

XP News: The Best Summer MENA Festivals to Keep On Your Radar in 2024

With a gentle warm breeze wafting through the air, signaling the arrival of summertime, the one thing that excites us the most, as party people, is music festival frolics. Who can pass up an opportunity to dance from dusk till dawn on a sun-drenched beach somewhere? (where accidentally we may find ourselves caught in a wild impromptu moshpit with our favourite rapper)

From Morocco’s Timelapse in the coastal city of Bouznika to Bahrain’s Soundscapes shenanigans in Zanzibar and Egypt’s Sandbox in El Gouna Red Sea, here is your guide to the hottest MENA summer festivals happening this year. Proceed with a credit card in hand, as there are some heavy bookings you’ll want to make.

Sandbox | May 16th - May 18th

El Gouna, Red Sea, Egypt 

Hosted by Egypt’s event giant Nacelle, Sandbox is one of the region’s biggest electronic music festivals, bringing together a stellar lineup of regional, local and international artists to perform on the glittery beaches of the Red Sea coast in El Gouna for three days.

Over the past years, Sandbox’s multiple stages have seen the likes of Mimi Love, Denis Sulta, Peggy Gou and Damien Lazarus, alongside memorable sets from Egyptian favourites such as Fulltone, Husa & Zeyada, Chiati, Misty and many more. Now approaching its 10th edition, Sandbox announced the festival dates running from May 16th - 18th, with a lineup featuring German techno legend Paul Kalkbrenner, Berlin’s up-and-coming DJ Quest, Saudi DJ Vinyl Mode, and local artists like Hot Oasis, Ramez Naguib, Misty, and many more. 

You can book your tickets now through sandboxfestival.com.

Aegis | July 12th - July 14th

Batroun, Lebanon

Considered one of Lebanon’s most highly-anticipated dance music festivals this summer, Aegis Festival’s inaugural edition saw renowned electronic music artists from across the globe, such as Maher Daniel, Sonja Moonear, Peggy Gou, Ame, and Marco Carola perform in the gorgeous mountainscape of Batroun.

The festival is returning with a second edition from July 12th to July 14th, to continue celebrating Lebanon’s vibrant music and culture amidst the lush greenery of Arnaoon Village. The 2024 lineup will be announced soon.

Stay tuned to aegisfestival.com for more updates on tickets and accommodation bundles.

Soundscapes | June 15th - June 19th 

Bwejuu Beach, Zanzibar 

Soundscapes is a Bahraini-born annual four-day electronic music, arts and wellness festival, celebrating the diverse sounds and expressions of the region and the world in one of the most picturesque locations on earth. Scheduled to take place in Bwejuu Beach in Zanzibar, from June 15th to June 19th, Soundscapes Zanzi Festival has teamed up with Sole DXB to introduce its custom-built Jamaican sound system at its 2024 edition. The 28-cabinet stack, hand-built in Kingston, Jamaica is to be featured at Soundscapes’ beachfront jungle-themed stage, the Oasis, marking the first time an electronic festival features a sound system of this kind.

The 2024 lineup features a slew of regional and international acts including Facesoul, Floyd Lavine, Dyed Soundorom, Sonja Moonear, Baloo, Zeina, Fares A, Zone+ and more.

For more information and tickets visit soundscapes.me

Timelapse | April 19th - April 21st 

Bouznika, Morocco 

Morocco’s multi-sensory dance music festival Timelapse is gearing up for its second edition from April 19th to 21st, with a thumping lineup of 55 international and regional artists to perform across three stages.

Taking place in the coastal city of Bouznika, a cultural treasure trove nestled between Casablanca and Rabat, the three-day festival offers an eclectic blend of sound and visual art alongside some fun interactive activities. The festival will see German electronic music producer and DJ Ricardo Villalobos, French electronic artist NTO, and Zamna Soundsystem, making their Morocco debut. The lineup also features an ensemble of regional and local talents like Bassam, DAOX, NDRK, and many more. 

The festival will feature a new stage dedicated to record labels’ takeovers for the first time, with labels like Distrikt Paris, The Other Side and SQNC slotted to showcase. 

For tickets and more info, head to TimelapseFest.ma

Groove On The Grass | May 3rd

Juman Park, Jeddah, KSA Dubai’s

Groove on the Grass is returning to Saudi Arabia to celebrate its 11th anniversary with a ‘Saudi Groove’ in Jeddah, a day event taking place in Jeddah’s Juman Park with a limited capacity.

With its thoughtfully curated events and impressive line-ups, Groove on the Grass has been pushing the region’s electronic music scene forward. In 2022, the music festival made its Saudi debut and has since been hosting events across the Kingdom, the last of which was in Riyadh on February 9th of this year.

Set to take place on May 3rd, the ‘Saudi Groove’ will feature a lineup of regional and international acts such as Dish Dash, Vinyl Mode, Hats & Klaps, along with a live set by DJ Satori.

To book your tickets, head to the Platinumlist website.

BRED | April 24th - April 28th

Yas Bay Abu Dhabi, UAE 

Abu Dhabi’s contemporary cultural festival, BRED is a melting pot of arts, culture and music, celebrating the fusion of hip-hop, basketball, street art, and fashion within the UAE. The five-day neo-cultural festival is back with a second edition at Yas Bay from April 24th to April 28th, featuring an electrifying roster of global and regional rap icons like J Hus, AJ Tracey, Don Toliver as well as Abyusif, Marwan Pablo and Dafencii. The 2024 lineup also includes American record producer Metro Boomin, who will share the stage with Offset, and Multi-instrumentalist and rap icon Ty Dolla $ign.

For tickets and more info, head to BRED’s official website.

Agafy Storm | May 31st - June 1st

Agafy Desert, Marrakech, Morocco 

Brought by Sabotage Fest, Agafy Storm is an electronic music festival set to take place amidst Marrakech’s glittering Agafy desert from May 31st to June 1st, with a lineup of international and regional artists.

Sabotage Fest announced the first phase of their 2024 lineup, which is set to be headlined by global acts like Deer Jade, Jan Blomqvist, Joplyn, Monolink, Mathame and Whomadewho. The rest of the lineup is yet to be announced. 

For tickets and more info, head to sabotagefest.com

Gnaoua | June 27th - June 29th 

Essaouira, Morocco 

Essaouira’s Gnaoua Festival is an annual celebration of the soulful music of West African culture in Morocco. Since its debut in 1998, the world-famous music fest has been attracting thousands of music enthusiasts and global artists from across the globe to the historic beach town. For its 25th edition this year from June 27th- 29th, the three-day festival is bringing a diverse lineup of regional and international talents from across various genres, including Palestinian artists Saint Levant, Grammy-nominated Spanish sensation Buika, Morocco’s Maalem Hassan Boussou, and many others. The festival will also see the reunion of the iconic NY jazz band The Brecker Brothers.

For more information about tickets and booking, head to festival-gnaoua.net.

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