The 11th annual Mawazine Festival, "Rhythms of the World", has once again been a huge success. Despite sniping criticism from the far right conservatives, the festival has drawn enormous crowds to Rabat to celebrate music, peace and tolerance.
The Festival director, Aziz Daki, was quick to claim victory. "This huge spectator attendance is a very clear sign of victory of the values of openness and tolerance of all other "edgy"ideas over those who want to marginalize the festival."
Countering criticism that state subsidies fund the Mawazine Festival, organisers vowed that the event would no longer use public money but continue to secure performers of the same high standard. "This is the only festival in Morocco – and possibly in the world – which does not receive any subsidies from the city which hosts it," Aziz Daki said.
|Mariah Carey performing at Mawazine|
A number of styles of music have been represented through performers including: Cheb Khaled, Asalah Nasri, Abdallah Al Rowaished, Vigon and the Dominos, Evanescence, Nancy Ajram, Pitbull, Yolanda Be Cool, Scorpions, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Fadel Shaker, Dounia Batma and more.
The four main open-air stages designed to accommodate crowds of 15,000 to more than 100,000 have been packed with people, organisers said.
|Mariah Carey and son Moroccan|
A capacity crowd is expected for the final concert tonight with Mariah Carey. She arrived in Rabat yesterday.
|Algerian singer Cheb Khaled, the "Prince of Rai"|
More than 175,000 music lovers turned out to see headliner Cheb Khaled, the "Prince of Rai" drape Moroccan and Algerian flags around his neck as he sang songs calling for harmony between countries.
During a press conference Khaled stressed the need to create a united Maghreb, along the lines of the European Union, based on brotherhood. "It would be a great source of strength," he said.
Cheikhi Brahimi, who brought his son Mohib to listen to Khaled's performance, said: "This is a symbol of brotherhood between the peoples of the Maghreb, despite their political differences. Art unites the Maghreb."