Morocco’s Oasis Festival unveils the 2019 arts and culture programme, including The Mbari House, a collaborative art space presented by the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), Art Comes First (ACF) and Marché Noir, and a special installation from arts collective Squidsoup.
Launched in 2015, Oasis ignited a now thriving festival scene in Morocco, setting the bar high with world class headliners and high quality production, tempting adventurous travellers to dance somewhere different. The pioneering event will continue to be a source of local inspiration and global acclaim this September when the landmark fifth edition plays out in the shadow of the Atlas Mountains.
For this special anniversary edition, Oasis has invited MACAAL and Art Comes First to curate the programme for the festival’s newest space ‘The Mbari House’. Since first opening in 2016, not-for-profit art museum MACAAL, which is dedicated to the promotion of African art, has become a vital player in Marrakech’s resurgent cultural scene. Together with London-based creative collective Art Comes First, led by Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh they have brought together a rich music, arts and culture offering for Oasis 2019. A tribute to The Mbari Club, the Nigerian arts, music and literary hub founded by Ulli Beier, The Mbari House will bring together the best of music, art, fashion and design from Morocco and beyond.
Music sessions come from Mercury Prize winner Sampha (DJ set), Noirwave innovator Petite Noir (Live), acclaimed Moroccan rapper Issam and Jamaican producer Walshy Fire, better known as one-third of influential, reggae/dancehall-inspired EDM outfit, Major Lazer. South African GQOM pioneer DJ Lag, Casablancan beatmaker Saib, Shingai, and ACF duo Voodoo Gents also join the bill, along with a whole host of surprise guest appearances throughout the weekend.
The Mbari House will exhibit artworks from French-Moroccan photographer Leila Alaoui, Malian photographer Malick Sidibé, Marrakech-based photographer M’hammed Kilito, Kenyan photographer Cyrus Kabiru, Moroccan artists Mohamed El Baz and Mustapha Akrim, along with live ceramic painting from Moroccan designer Bouchra Boudoua.
Guests can also enjoy a series of insightful panel talks, including ACF (Sam Lambert, Shaka Maidoh), Marché Noir (Amah Ayivi), M’hammed Kilito and Bouchra Boudouaon the importance of sustainable design and Oasis founder Marjana Jaidi on the festival’s five-year evolution from dancefloor getaway to multi-disciplinary cultural event. Finally, the pop-up store at The Mbari House will feature vintage treasures courtesy of Marché Noir, clothing by Art Comes First, a Polaroid Photo Project with Art Comes First and much more.
Elsewhere in the festival, Squidsoup, a UK-based, international collective of artists who create unique, dynamic light installations around the world, will make their Moroccan debut. The team, who have previously exhibited their work at leading galleries and festivals including TATE Britain, Sydney Opera House, Sonar, Burning Man and Glastonbury Festival, as well as collaborating with Four Tet on a series of events, will present two installations at Oasis.
As Oasis turns 5 there’s plenty of musical treats in store for the festival. Headline sets come from Four Tet, Amelie Lens and Dixon B2B Âme, plus there’s debut performances from party-starter Seth Troxler, BBC Radio 1 favourite Jayda G, Parisian trio Apollonia, Australian house maestro Mall Grab and Korean selector 박혜진 Park Hye Jin. Detroit heroes Theo Parrish, Moodymann and DJ Bone mix with Berlin tastemakers Dana Ruh and Anastasia Kristensen, and naturally there’s an abundance of Moroccan talent on show, including Casa Voyager founder Driss Bennis, eclectic selector Yasmean, Moroko Loko founder Amine K, rising star Monile and acts including Polyswitch, Malik, Massimo and Nomads.
Some of dance music’s finest live shows will also land at Oasis Festival, including throwback house and disco act Hercules & Love Affair, downtempo Andean-electronic producer Nicola Cruz, master of techno melancholy Recondite, raw, lo-fi warehouse specialists Paranoid London and the expertly nuanced electronics of Baltra. Ibiza favourites Cassy and Eats Everything drop in for a back-to-back session and there’s sets from Loco Dice, Optimo, Silvie Loto, Archie Hamilton, Or:la, Horse Meat Disco, Josey Rebelle, Sonja Moonear and many more.