Friday, June 04, 2010

Ben Harper Ditches Fez Festival

It is with deep regret that I will be unable to attend the Sacred Music Festival this weekend in Morocco, due to a skateboarding injury (#$%!). While skating a pool, I dislocated my left shoulder. I'll be hitting the rehab hard in preparation for our tour this summer with Pearl Jam. Skate Boarding is not a crime - Ben Harper

(UPDATE ~ Ben Harper did come to Fez in 2011. He wore a t-shirt with the word "Fez" in Arabic. He was a sensation. Story and photographs are here. )

Ben Harper skating

The most important international act at the Fez Sacred Music Festival has cancelled his appearance. The news of Ben Harper's decision spread like wildfire through the streets of the Medina.

The news was particularly disappointing for the hundreds of people whose main reason for coming to the Festival was to see Ben Harper. Many had travelled from as far away as Australia.

Spare a thought also for the Festival organisers, who have been put in a dreadful position. The "official" explanation is that Harper is "ill". As an Australian woman said, "our screams of anguish could probably be heard in Marrakesh."

The Festival office told The View From Fez that all they received was an "attestation" that he was ill.

According to the Festival Office the vacant spot will be filled by "two African groups". The View from Fez will let you know any more information if and when it comes to hand.

Meanwhile back at the Media Centre...

Confusion reigns! No, says the media liason woman, we don't know anything about any replacement groups. No, we don't know who will be performing on Saturday.

And to cap it all, the media passes which were supposed to be ready for the press this morning at the Press Centre would be ready at 2 pm. Oh really? At 2 pm the passes were unsighted. Then a rumour spread that they may be ready at 6 pm... but not at the media centre. We will ring you, said the young woman. She didn't. Now it seems the passes will be at some other place. Maybe Dar Tazi, maybe at the entrance to the concert. Then an update: press passes at Dar Tazi "sometime" after 4pm. Those poor press types from foreign lands who don't know where or what Dar Tazi is.

Mmmm, note to organisers. Organising is what should happen. A bewildered English TV journalist reports that Objectif Maroc types had their badges several days ago. Ho hum.

To see all the Fez Festival 2010 stories on The View from Fez, click HERE!


pema said...

Susanna Wyatt, Tessa Graaf, Vic Ecclestone and I pitched up at Dar Tazi to enquire about press passes. Vic in particular was keen to see the Cambodian ballet after a period in his career promoting dance events. After a few minutes a M. Harci materialised, apparently unimpressed by us. After a couple of peremptory remarks he led us up a staircase, then disppeared into his office -- which had alarge No Entry notice posted on the door. Together with a gaggle of Moroccan stewards we waited in the corridor -- representatives of the international media who had flown to Fes from all over planet earth. Vic and I gave up after waiting for half an hour.Later Susanna phoned us to say the passes MIGHT be available at 8.00pm. The opening event starts at 8.30. There have been major organisational hitches in the past, but this one is the scum at the bottom of the barrel.

The Barefaced Poet said...

hi Suzanna, I've just purchased your book and am really looking forward to reading it. I found your blog address on the back cover.
I have just finished Annie Hawes' 'A Handful of Honey' which has given me a real interest to read more account of travelling/living in North Africa.
That's how I stumbled across your book, Amazon told me that I might like it! :0)
I'll be back to read your blog when I've finished the book.

Sandy McCutcheon said...

Ben Harper being injured was not good news. However we will let people know about the replacement group or groups as soon as possible. It is probable they will be African musicians from Mali... we will keep you posted on the blog