Morocco/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation  

8.2.1 Trends and figures

Morocco has seen an increase in arts festivals in the past decade. The cultural sector has experienced unprecedented financial and symbolic success, from festivals celebrating popular oral heritage to festivals celebrating horses, camels, and magic.

Morocco organises many festivals that meet international standards for quality. These festivals boast a steadily growing international following. For example, forty countries participated in Rabat’s Mawazeen Festival. The festival's director noted that the technical equipment used was “in conformity with international standards” and that the festival presented more than a hundred musical shows from five large stages. However, the festival was discontinued after 2009, when 11 people were killed and 40 wounded by a stampede during the singer Abdelaziz Stati’s performance.  More than 70,000 were in attendance. The Ganawa International Festival in Essouira also attracted international attention for having drawn a crowd of 400,000 in 2008, its eleventh year running. The festival is supervised by royal counsel Andre Azoulay, the son of Essouira.

The fifth annual Timitar Festival in Agadir was organised under the motto “world music”. It attracted the attention of both the public and the media. The festival attracted more than fifty renowned musical artists from various regions of the world.

The MoC recently began delegating more organisational and programmatic responsibility to regional directorates.  They also intend to begin turning budgets over to regional directorates in the near future.

Only the National Theatre Festival in Meknas is still centrally organised, through the MoC directorate in Meknas Tafilalt.

The frequency of music festivals—particularly international festivals—has drastically increased in the past half-decade. In 2008, Morocco organised the:

  • International Film Festival on Cinema and Migration in Agadir
  • International Festival of Francophone Film Safi
  • Tétouan Festival for the Films of Mediterranean Countries
  • International Festival of Film Cinema of Casablanca
  • First National Festival of Youth Cinema
  • International Film Festival for Human Rights in Rabat
  • Muhammadiyah International Festival of Short Films
  • Mediterranean Short Film Festival in Tangier
  • International Cinema Festival in Aleyoun
  • Author's Film Festival in Rabat
  • Short and Documentary Film Festival of Morocco, Spain, and Latin America
  • African Film Festival in Khouribga
  • Marrakech International Cinema Festival
  • National Film Festival in Tangier

Some of the other cultural and artistic activities in the Moroccan scene include:

  • The 10th Mediterranean Short Film Festival in Tangiers, held on 1 October, 2012, with competition from 52 films from 21 Arab and Western countries chosen from 800 applications.

  • The International Festival of Children’s Theatre, held on 10-12 October, 2012. Organised by the MoC, the festival is an annual meeting for theatre professionals, directed at children and adolescents. It also includes different artistic forms: theatre, miming, storytelling, and circus. The program for this year was recorded with the participation of several artistic groups from Iraq, Bulgaria, Palestine, Cote d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Indonesia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco. The event will also be attended by guests of honour who have made significant contributions to children’s theatre in Morocco.

  • The International Group Theatre Festival in Tangier, from 15 to 20 October, 2012, held under the slogan: “Tangier, the capital of group theatre”.

  • The Sharjah Forum for Writers of Youth Theatre in Marrakech, held on 19 and 20 October, 2012.  The Forum was hosted by the Minister of Culture, under the supervision of Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, a member of the Supreme Ruling Council of Sharjah, in cooperation with the regional directorate of the MoC from Marrakech, Tansift Al Houz.  The forum is organised annually by the Department of Culture and Media in Sharjah.  It seeks to provide material and moral encouragement to young innovators. It is also a message of celebration from the Emirates to all young creative energies in the Arab world. The event is intended to enrich cultural relations between the Department of Culture and Media in the UAE and Moroccan cultural institutions, especially those interested in theatre. During the festival, 10 young innovators (five writers and five critics) read their texts in the lecture hall of the MoC’s director, with notable Moroccan creative artists in attendance.

Chapter published: 05-05-2016