In its third year, the sold-out Oasis Fest returned to The Source, a music resort in the desert of Marrakech to provide local and international guests with an immersive electronic music experience and escape . . . “To Dance Somewhere Different.” Taking place over a long mid-September weekend, the super stacked line up boasted a diverse offering of dance music’s biggest talents in techno and house between two stages including Marcellus Pittman, Henrik Schwarz, Modeselektor, Jackmaster, Axel Boman, Glenn Underground, Anja Schneider, Charlotte de Witte and Nicolas Jaar. The weekend kicked off with an opening party on Thursday featuring artists such as Kenny Glasgow, My Favorite Robot, and a closing 4-hour set that extended until 9am Friday morning from no one else, but Dynamic favorite, Solomun. With Lomography’s newest Neptune Convertible Art Lens System containing 35mm, 50mm, and 80mm attachments in tow, Foxkult captured the essence of Oasis through a more analog perspective.
The challenge of shooting on a fixed lens reflects the challenge of trying to find the just words to describe the feeling of arriving in Morocco as a foreigner and the beauty of Marrakech. Just as one must be precise in what content to capture within the frame of a prime lens and the range of distance, the same goes for describing the beauty and sentiments of landing your feet on the rich soil of Mama Africa where civilization began.
The African sunrise and sunset, the desert night sky, the souks where you can find the most beautiful artisanal creations and spices at unbeatable prices for the quality, delicious cuisine, gorgeous people, passion and traditions all contribute to the rich Moroccan culture.
From the intimate size of the boutique fest hosting around 3,000 people over 4 days, to the decor and layout of the grounds, it can be unabashedly stated that Oasis Fest was curated by a team of women and New Yorkers, founded by Marjana Jaidi of Cultivora. The ambiance was nothing short of magical with a perfect balance of relaxing and recreational offerings to complement the musical backdrop.
With each day of the festival beginning at 4pm, guests had the opportunity to lounge and eat Moroccan/French dishes and BBQ from local vendors, swim and float in the pool located in front of the main stage, take yoga, sip champagne, experience henna art in the Secret Garden, drink specialty cocktails designed by local cosmopolitan speakeasy Barometre while overlooking the entire grounds, and smoke hookah and drink tea prepared by a master to decompress. The sponsor activations were subtle and well-intentioned with a billiards and foosball tent from Jack Daniel’s, phone charging stations by Maroc Telecom, and photo booths provided by Samsung.
The best sets by far were from the DJs who beyond feeding off the energy of their crowd, incorporated the sounds of the present environment and culture with rhythmic afrobeats, funk, and soul. Favorites were Auntie Flo on Sunday afternoon who played house to a small, but super engaged early crowd at the main stage, Jackmaster b2b Axel Boman closing out Sunday and the festival, Modeselektor on Saturday night who dropped some fire Missy Elliot and played 3 closing encores, Henrik Schwarz & Jesse Rose as Black Rose at the Arena Stage who played a live booty-shaking afrocentric techno set, Marcellus Pittman delivering the soul of Detroit house and techno with a hybrid vinyl set on Sunday, another Detroit legend, Glenn Underground who stepped in for Joy Orbison with funk and soul-infused techno, and last but definitely NOT the least: genius producer and DJ deity, Nicolas Jaar who not only blew our minds with a live set on Sunday, but on Saturday night as well with a DJ set to replace Maceo Plex who could no longer attend. Musically, Sunday felt the most atmospheric and light-hearted with amazing DJ sets between both stages making it hard to choose between main stage talent and artists such as Patrice Baumel, Giorgia Angiuli, and Tiana T at the smaller stage.
Overall, Oasis Fest served as a supreme destination festival with the best energy and vibes from attendees and performers. Located in a city rich in color and culture, it made a beautiful experience to document through the Neptune Art Lens System.
The organization of the festival is one for other promoters to learn from, and hopes are that in the years to come it continues to be intimate, engaging, and not too commercial. We will definitely return next year and look forward to what the fourth edition holds in store.