The Morocco 2001 Festival (12/31 to 1/2)index | prev | next

We took our time in Ouarzazate and didn't end up getting to the festival until it was dark. Upon arrival at the festival, we began the biggest fiasco of the entire trip.

The exact details are painful to recall, but we spent our first six hours at the festival (from around 7pm to 1am) attempting to pay for and locate our rented tent. The process involved many multiples of kilometers of walking, some of those carrying (or dragging in my case) our heavy gear. There was a lot of line standing in, ceaseless waiting, a great deal of confusion and precious little organization on the part of the festival staff.

Since we were only sleeping four hours at a time at this point, I woke up around 5am and decided to take a picture of the inside of our "authentic" Berber tent. Those sticks are holding up the roof and the blankets behind it are a divider. The tent would be more aptly describe as a hotel. It divided into six compartments, each of which has room for eight people to sleep.

Taking this picture consumed the tiny remains of power from my camera battery and I had to spend the rest of the three day festival in the desert without my camera despite strenuous searching on my part for a stray cable dangling from a generator that I could use to charge up the battery. Bad planning on my part.

After the fiasco of the first night, the rest of the festival went smoothly. The DJs were reasonably good and played psy-trance for the most part. We saw some sort of folk-like music going on at one point near the tents with the food, but there were no schedules, so I have no idea whether or not any of the various performers that were supposed to show up actually did. All we saw the whole time were DJs and one live act.

The big night was plagued by serious speaker problems, manifesting themselves repeatedly as screeching, painful, 10,000 watt, amplified static. This was complemented by an overzealous French guy who insisted on climbing onto the stage and energetically hassling the live act, who were trying to peacefully usher in the new year with marginally groovy music.

Unfortunately, no decisive action was taken on the part of the festival staff and about 45 minutes of the last two hours of the year 2000 were spent with the music stopped and various people trying to coax this guy gently off of the stage. Eventually he ripped his shirt off, grabbed a microphone, yelled something in garbled French to his rapt audience, and jumped back into the crowd.

The rest of the festival involved numerous lengthy hikes from our tents to the festival proper which was about a twenty minute walk, a lot of gazing at the stars because we were still sleeping during the day, and even a touch of dancing here and there. The only truly redeeming thing about the festival was the ability to wander around the desert with a driving soundtrack rolling in all around you. My final assessment was that we should have taken some good headphones and some portable music out into the middle of the desert and avoided all the hassle.

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©2002 michael bayne  <>