Sun, palm trees, swimming pool, delicious food, cocktails, amazing line up, great staff and crazy people. How about experiencing all of this in one unique place? That’s exactly what I did this week-end at the Oasis Festival, hosted in The Source Private Resort Music and Spa in Marrakech from the 15th to the 17th of September 2017.
Marrakech is now remembered as a festival destination for dance/electronic music fans. Most internationals I’ve talked with said they are definitely coming back next year and that this festival is on their list of the best ones! So to give you a glimpse of the magic, I will be sharing with you my 3 days experience at the third (but my first) edition of the Oasis festival.
I got to the festival’s venue using the free shuttle buses, which were very helpful, although buses were scarce around 5am when everyone was leaving. This option was definitely praised by all attendees, nonetheless.
Now let’s start from the entrance door: you get yourself and your bag checked then head off to the stand where you charge your bracelet festival with money to spend on the food, drink and merchandise vendors at the festival. I found the system to be smart and practical, you just have to scan your bracelet for every purchase. And while we’re at it, I did hear from a few people that they lost money from their bracelets because the item purchased might’ve been checked twice by mistake, and it happened to me as well, but all you have to do is check with the staff managing the system. I did that and I got my money right away, so this is why I think the system is efficient and the staff is very helpful — they will do anything to make you satisfied.
Right after this, you see the big OASIS sign where everyone takes crazy pictures and where you feel that the fun is about to begin! I reached the set at 5pm the first day, the atmosphere was pretty chill, people relaxing in the pool, a few enjoying the view on the grass, others tasting the different cuisines by the food court and a few checking out the clothes and souvenirs stand.
By 7pm, more people arrived and more started to dance on the main stage. I liked that the venue matches the festival’s perspective and spirit, and that no matter how crowded it might be or seem to be, you can find a great spot to dance and be at ease: whether it’s at the main stage, Arena, food court, terrace bars, the grass by the pool or even in the pool itself (which I did jump in at 1am)!
By 8pm, I started feeling the energy building up, everyone was wild and beyond alive.
Now let’s get to the music part: to be honest with all of you, this was my first electronic music festival and I am not that familiar with it nor the artists but I can definitely say that I LOVED discovering it all! Oasis Festival introduced me to the energy and hype of electronic music and proved to me once more that music is a universal language. My favorites from the first night were: Young Marco, Harvey Sutherland, Karenn and of course Kink! The mix of the different beats keeps you moving, it never stops and you don’t stop dancing either. I am actually very glad that it was my first, especially after getting around and talking to proper electronic music fans and getting to know their impressions about Oasis and them comparing it to other similar festivals.
“Oasis festival is quite an original concept that surprised me. You experience a great transition throughout a day there: from cool and calm chilling by the pool, to upbeat music all night long. I loved the atmosphere and the fact that the number of attendees was perfect: not too many but not too little. The line up didn’t deceive as well. Although I had a small problem getting my wristband at the entrance and despite the cancellation of Maceo Plex’s set, I enjoyed the festival so much and I will definitely come back again!” Gerard S, Spain
“I’ve been to festivals all over America and Europe, and I think Oasis was one of the most intimate festivals I have been to. It is sized perfectly: enough people to have a fun party, but small enough to meet interesting, friendly people from around the world and continue seeing them over and over throughout the weekend. Add a great line up of performers, and you have yourself a hit! I would love to come back again next year!” Drew J, USA
I got there at 5pm again and that’s when Matt Medved was playing, I found his mix liberating and the nuances of his music psychedelic! I have to go through the big deception of the festival now: yes I know, I know, Maceo Plex was supposed to play the 3 to 5 am set, but it was cancelled last minute. Yes, it sucks (for his fans especially, some came especially to see him that night) but not as much because he got replaced by Nicolas Jaar who was beyond amazing! So this year’s visitors were lucky enough to see Nicolas Jaar twice, first a DJ set and then LIVE! Besides this, I found Alex Niggemann’s B2B Amine K set incredible, wasn’t bored for a second throughout the whole show, another great reference (for me who’s still figuring out this type of music).
For me, not getting bored means dancing 10 out of the 12 hours I spend there (if not more) but it also means I have to stay hydrated and drink lots of water. Unfortunately, I found the water to be overpriced, which was unpleasant as it is the thing we need the most in a festival. As for the food, I didn’t try all the stands but the one I did was “Le Petit Chinois” that offered asian cuisine. I had a delicious vegetarian wok, and the price was fair. There was also a cool, authentic BBQ stand, just as if you are eating in a cool popular Moroccan neighborhood, but then again the price was too high for the size of the sandwich. Overall, I found the food court to be quite diverse and matching the festival vibe.
One of the things I really liked was the terrace bar overlooking the main stage, the yoga classes (that I didn’t attend) but found to be a nice option added to this year’s edition, the much needed free mint tea at the traditional moroccan area and the Magic Carpet hookah area.
I ended up leaving by 5:30 am, the atmosphere was still cool but it wasn’t the highlight of the night for me, that’s why I thought it would be better to get some rest ahead of the big Finale!
I could feel the “we don’t want this to end yet” vibe in the air as soon as I got in, as I found many more people around the pool at the main stage around 6pm compared to the last two days. It was pretty obvious that everyone was trying to get the most out of their last day at Oasis.
Auntie Flo was playing a good tune at the main stage, the crowd started heating up, more people in the food court, in the terrace bars and the Arena. Although it might seem like the Venue is too small to bare 14 000 attendees from 60 countries (almost 50% of them are from Morocco, followed by France, UK, Switzerland, Spain and Germany) but it did handle all these people’s needs in an efficient way. Every staff member was where she/he was meant to be, handling what’s supposed to be taken care of at any spot of the venue, making everything flexible and smooth. Everywhere was continuously cleaned, the trash was collected every hour and even the toilets were cleaned after each use, which I found very professional and responsible.
I have checked the Arena of course but I didn’t stay there long enough, especially after midnight, mainly because I liked the view of the main stage more and I wanted a little bit more space to enjoy dancing. Though I did chill by the terrace bar overlooking the Arena, waiting for Nicolas Jaar’s live.
By midnight, everyone started getting excited to enjoy Jaar’s music again and it couldn’t have been better — the main stage was on fire. Then at 2am, Jackmaster and Axel Boman started playing B2B (back-to-back) and that’s when I understood why they were chosen to close the festival: their set was overwhelmingly groundbreaking! I lost myself to the excitement of their mix. That was the unforgettable highlight of the festival and a satisfying end of 3 days of a brilliant, skillful and thrilling line up of DJs.
At last, I can say that Oasis captures the revolution of the electronic music scene in Morocco. It is the experience of a lifetime that should be on every festivals lover’s list. It has gotten better in each of its three years; the staff acknowledges what to improve year after year to make the crowds happy. Personally, I think it is a great achievement to gather electronic music fans from all around the world in an unusual dance festival destination, that is Marrakech. What’s more impressive is to make people who are not familiar with electronic music like it thanks to a memorable festival experience!
Be here next year, visit Marrakech and dare to Dance Somewhere Different!