It is on May 18th, 2002 that the Diablada show sounded the first beat to the Mawazine Festival- Rhythms of the World. Thanks to its colorful show, the Bolivian troop raised the curtain on a new experience and gave hope to festivalgoers for unprecedented diversity. From that day, the Festival and its organizers are committed to offer the audience vibrant cultural events of international scope, quality, and for all tastes. More than ten years later, the Maroc Cultures Association still strives to fulfill this promise by organizing what has become, over the years, one of the biggest festivals in the world. The organization of the event could not take place without a number of fundamentals and values upheld by Maroc Cultures and listed below:
The foremost mission of Mawazine Festival –Rhythms of the World as set out during the creation of the Maroc Cultures Association, is to “ensure the public of Rabat -Salé- Zemmour- Zaërs, high quality cultural and artistic entertainment worthy of the capital of the Kingdom.” To this end, the Festival makes it a point of honor to respect tastes, desires, and preferences of each individual. Rich and eclectic, its lineup brings together big names in the pan-Arab and Moroccan scene, celebrities and internationally renowned performers recognized through major musical traditions of the world. Alongside the concerts, the event is also a venue of original musical creations, street performances, workshops, and colloquies during which great thinkers, philosophers and artists invite to reflect on music in Morocco and worldwide. Furthermore, the Festival is constantly working to meet diverse cultures by inviting high-level artists from around the world-no less than 35 nationalities were present in 2013. Through a variety of styles and personalities from all horizons, young talents or established celebrities, the Mawazine Festival- Rhythms of the World portrays creation through all its facets.
Particular attention is paid to ensure the access for the Moroccan population to the concerts and events organized by the Maroc Cultures Association. With free of charge access to 90% of shows, the Mawazine Festival-Rhythms of the World advocates accessibility to culture for all Moroccans. This commitment is reinforced by the presence of six stage-venues spread over a wide area, Rabat and Salé, in order to reach as many people as possible. Different sites of the Festival are also designed to optimize access to all types of audiences and allow them to live the Mawazine experience in its entirety. Thus, the Maroc Cultures Association makes it a point of honor to allow any type of public to enjoy performances. In this context, raised platforms with access ramps for the disabled are placed in key locations. A complete system is also available to them (reception, security, adaptation equipment … )
By its festive and cultural quality aspect, the festival attracts a large, open, and receptive audience . The objective of the health and safety staff of the Festival is to offer the best conditions of comfort and safety to all festivalgoers . To allow the public to track concerts as comfortably and safely as possible, the Festival takes place in accordance with international standards. Stages, facilities, road access system, emergency exits, and all infrastructures open to the public, benefit from optimal safety conditions and the daily presence of police , civil protection and health services .
The keystone of the Festival is undoubtedly the city of Rabat , which for more than a decade, is the place of performance of a multitude of shows staged differently in various settings. Far from being just a spectator, Rabat contributes greatly to the success of the Festival by providing streets, historical monuments and symbolic places of Moroccan culture. By hosting this unique event, the city classified as World Heritage by UNESCO – transforms annually into a genuine open-air stage, hence promoting the authenticity of the history of the Capital while working for the creation of modern and open Morocco.
The impact of Mawazine is not limited to the entertainment industry . A total of 3,000 direct and indirect jobs benefit from the festival. In 2011 Mawazine has generated 22 % growth of tourism revenue in Rabat. Three sectors benefit from the Mawazine effect via a significant increase in their revenue. With a significant turnover growth, retail, catering and transport sectors see their sales grow by an average of 30% during the festival. For these shops, the festival is an important source of business. During the Festival, hotels have an average turnover growth of 22%. Throughout the festival season, the hotel occupancy rate is of 100 % for 4/5 stars and 63 % for other hotels. This is two to four times more than during the normal period.
Making Morocco shine is also putting forward Moroccan artists. Mawazine is an important platform for hundreds of artists to express their talent, and who thanks to this prestigious festival, shine worldwide. With more than half of its lineup dedicated to singers and musicians of the kingdom, Mawazine is the only festival of the country to grant such a large place to the best representatives of Moroccan music: celebrities like RedOne or Nass El Ghiwane, but also young talents spotted through Generation Mawazine. This unique media presence is built around concerts, but also thanks to unique creations that highlight the contribution of Moroccan and foreign artists. Indeed, many international artists have participated in iconic creations these previous years. In 2009, Italian Ennio Morricone, worked with a Moroccan choir; in 2010, the undisputed master of the electric guitar, Carlos Santana, created the event by inviting his namesake gnawi mâalem Bakbou to perform with him at the OLM. The same year, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Mawazine, American Quincy Jones (producer of Michael Jackson) and Moroccan producer RedOne, worked together on the cover song in Arabic of Quincy Jones’ hit, Tomorrow, a song dedicated to childhood, hope and peace. Coupled with a music video that brought together Arab and American artists, this original work was conceived in the same spirit as We are the world, a charity song produced in 1985 in response to famine in Ethiopia. Revenue from this project has been donated to child protection associations in Arab countries including Moroccan associations. In 2011, Algerian Safy Boutella, along with the group, re-explored the repertoire of Nass El Ghiwane. This goes without mentioning all collaborations experienced by the Royal Symphony Orchestra with iconic artists including Roger Hodgson, Sting, Nigel Kennedy, George Benson…
In a discrete but concrete manner, the Maroc Cultures Association supports several socio-cultural causes. Since 2013, an incentive policy for the disabled has been established. This policy comes to life through the allocation of tens of free places for associations working for the integration of people with disabilities in the socio-educational environment. Mawazine also strives to convey the Moroccan cultural model abroad, while working to spread the values the kingdom embraces: tolerance, exchange and diversity. This is why the festival offers, since always, a lineup that captures all the cultures of the world. This is the reason the festival organized, in 2011, the concert “The Voices of Peace.” Initiated in response to the bombing of Marrakech, this concert brought together, on the automobile circuit of the red city, approximately 45,000 people coming to listen to the celebrities of music for 7 hours (Nass El Ghiwane, Hajja Hamdouiya, Saida Charaf, etc.). On this occasion, a check for 3.5 million MAD was donated by Maroc Cultures to the families of the Moroccan and foreign victims.
Since 2012, the Mawazine Festival-Rhythms of the World, is one of the only Moroccan events that does not levy any public funds, thanks to the development of a reliable and profitable business model for the Festival. Variable revenue (ticketing, pass, advertising space, etc.) now represent 68% of the total Mawazine budget which, in turn, significantly reduced its dependence on private sponsors. This result is the fruit of a long evolution, which for 11 years has allowed Mawazine to be almost entirely autonomous. Today, more than ever, Mawazine is a civic festival whose economic independence is guaranteed by the success of each edition, by the loyalty of its audience, and by the sustained support of its partners.
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