If you’d like to hurtle face-first into electronic music, the Oasis Festival takes over a patch of desert just outside of central Marrakech for three days each year, drawing an enormous crowd of techno kids from all corners of the world. Roped off with string lights and lanterns, the festival is something of a cultural microcosm of its city: Street vendors and local food suppliers line the walkways, native artists and designers curate tents, and art galleries set up temporary installations (last year, MACAAL was present). For visitors, it’s a concentrated hit of Marrakech’s ever-changing art scene.
“The festival takes all these people who love to dance, and talk, and make art, and stay out all night — and it puts them into this one space together: Marrakech,” Bendriouich told me, while still pantsless, puttering around the tent he’d designed for 2018’s festival. “We’re a city of creators, and we’re always looking for an audience.”
Once the panel concluded, I watched as he skipped off to join the nearest DJ behind his stand, uninvited, gyrating his hips to the thud of the bass. I nodded along quietly, flanked on one side by an Algerian photographer, and on the other by a gaggle of Moroccan students. I admired how dynamic it felt to be surrounded — from all angles — by locals devising the culture of their own city.