Gnaoua Festival In Essaouira, All What You Need To Know

Have you ever heard of the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival? One of the most exciting events in the area is a celebration of international music and culture in Morocco. Since 1998, it has been held annually and draws tens of thousands of visitors and residents to take in the distinctive performances and setting.

In Essaouira, the Gnaoua Festival has grown in significance. Each June, it lasts for three days and features hundreds of musicians from all over the world. There is music for everyone to appreciate, from classical Western music to traditional African rhythms.

Everyone who attends will have a really remarkable experience thanks to the workshops, art exhibits, street theater performances, and more that are available to visitors.

History Of The Gnaoua Festival In Essaouira

In Essaouira, Morocco, Gnaoua music has traditionally played a significant role in daily life. The Gnaoua people, who are descended from West African countries, produced this style of traditional music.

In order to honor and further this musical history, the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival was launched in 1998. Every year, the festival takes place in late May or during the month of June. The Festival of Gnaoua Music, now in its 24th edition, is held in Essaouira from June 22 through June 24 of this year, 2023.

With live performances, workshops, and jam sessions, musicians from all over the world unite to celebrate their nationalities and cultures during the event. Besides that, tourists can take advantage of camel rides on the beach and traditional Gnaoua food installations.

Today, both locals and visitors recognize the Gnaoua Festival as a legendary occasion. Every year, it gives Essaouira a special ambiance that is unmatched across all of Morocco, if not the entire world! It’s a fantastic chance to get a close-up look at a very distinctive culture.

Where To Stay During The Gnaoua Festival In Essaouira

During the Gnaoua Festival, staying in Essaouira is a fantastic way to see the culture and spirit of this dynamic city. There are numerous lodging options, ranging from opulent resorts to hostels that are affordable. Whichever your preferred method of travel, you’re likely to discover something that meets your requirements.

You can easily access all the music and festivities related to the festival if you stay in accommodations close to the beach. Take advantage of the warm nights and sunny days as you explore everything Essaouira has to offer. Also, the area is full of eateries and bars where you can escape the congestion.

There are numerous Bed & Breakfasts farther from the town center for those looking for a little more seclusion. These locations frequently offer stunning views of the beach or the surrounding countryside and offer a tranquil retreat from the festival life’s hustle and bustle.

During the Gnaoua Festival, Essaouira provides accommodations that are both reasonable and luxurious, so there is something for everyone.

Here is a list of recommended hotels where you can stay while attending the Festival of Gnaoua in Essaouira:

  1. Hotel Heure Bleue Palais: Elegant hotel in Essaouira’s medina featuring a spa, rooftop patio, and outdoor pool.
  2. Riad Zahra: Comfortable riad-style hotel near the beach with a courtyard pool, a restaurant, and a hammam.
  3. Villa Maroc: A traditional riad featuring comfortable rooms, a rooftop patio, a spa, and a Moroccan cuisine restaurant.
  4. Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa: Elegant hotel beside a golf course with big rooms, golf facilities, a spa, and a variety of dining options.
  5. Le Jardin des Douars: A garden-themed boutique hotel with beautiful rooms, a swimming pool, a spa, and a restaurant.
  6. Riad Chbanate: Beautiful riad hotel in the medina with classical architecture, a rooftop terrace, and a restaurant serving regional cuisine.
  7. Atlas Essaouira & Spa: Contemporary beachfront hotel offers spacious rooms, a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and a variety of eating options.

You can look for more options here:


What To Expect At The Gnaoua Festival?

Gnaoua, a music and dance festival honoring African spiritual traditions and culture, is held in Essaouira, a tiny Moroccan coastal city. The events bring together locals and tourists alike through music, art, and traditional food. What can we expect from this one-of-a-kind event? Here’s how it works:

MusicTraditional Gnaoua music played by local musiciansAll day
DancingTraditional Gnaoua dances performed by costumed dancersAll day
WorkshopsTraditional Gnaoua instrument classes with expert instructors2-3 hours
FoodLocal cuisine including local dishes such as couscous and taginesAll day

Musicians play traditional Gnaoua string instruments such as the Guembri, Sintir, Krakeb, and Tebel at the event, filling the air with upbeat tunes. Attendees can either join in on the lively dancing that ensues or attend courses to learn how to play traditional Gnaoua instruments. In addition, there are many options to indulge in the region’s wonderful couscous and tagines. There is a sense of calm and excitement in the air; this is an event that welcomes people from all walks of life.

If you want to have a once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience, you can’t miss the Gnaoua Festival in Essaouira. This enchanted city has activities for everyone, whether you want to experience the local culture or just unwind on the beach.

Where To Eat During The Gnoua Festival?

Essaouira’s Gnoua Festival is a lively and fascinating showcase of music and culture. There will be incredible shows, fascinating art exhibits, and regional cuisine for visitors to enjoy.

Many restaurants, both Moroccan and elsewhere, may be found around the city. Guests can enjoy a variety of musical performances at various eateries all across town during the event.

After a long day of touring and enjoying, festival-goers can recover in one of the many parks or gardens that dot the neighborhood and make use of the tranquil lounging areas there.

You can’t go wrong with any of Essaouira’s hotels or restaurants, and the Gnoua Festival is guaranteed to be the highlight of your trip.

Related articles: Morocco travel tips, where to stay, and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *