Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

23rd edition: 12-20 May 2017

festival image

Scroll down to find general information about the Festival and seating.

Subscribe to our mailing list to find out when tickets and passes will be on sale, and buy them through this site: contact us at fezriads@gmail.com.



12-20 May 2017


Water is the mirror of our future

                                                                                                         Gaston Bachelard


Provisional Programme


21.00 Bab al Makina                   Tales of Water

                                                            We have made from water every living thing. Surah 21, verse 30

This premiere takes both an ecological and a spiritual look at water as the source of life. Each fountain in Fes gives rise to a different story or fable, taking us on a journey across oceans, rivers and mountain springs.



16.00 Jnan Sbil Gardens        Marc Vella



19.00 Riad Dar Bensouda     Lingling Yu  China

Pipa lute


21.00 Bab al Makina                Beijing Opera  China


22.00 Cinema Boujloud          Bel Leil al Zaman – Nile Café in collaboration with the French Institute in Fes

Tribute to the Baladi culture of the Nile: the traditions of the Nile and Upper Egypt, for children and adults.

In a small café in a village near Luxor, amid the crickets and the festive lights of saint’s days, we discover one of the most popular traditons of the Arab world.


23.00 Dar Pacha Tazi                 Sufi Night



14.00 Dar Batha               Workshop with Marc Vella

Musical training or not, this workshop encourages freedom of expression to attain harmony in your life.


16.30 Jnan Sbil                  Marlui Miranda

The riches of the Amerinidian continent are evoked by its oceans and rivers. Marlui Miranda’s voice and her Indian flutes express the nobility of Amazonian nature.


21.00 Bab al Makina        Songhaï with Toumani Diabaté

Songhaï returns: this is a musical collaboration between the Spanish flamenco group Ketama and Malian Mandinka music, featuring Javier Colina, José Miguel Carmona and Toumani Diabaté.


22.00 Cinema Boujloud   Nile Café

23.00 Dar Pacha Tazi        Sufi Night




16.30 Jnan Sbil Gardens  Salman el Ammari  Kuwait

The Art of the Sea

Singer and oud player: the pearl fishers



19.00 and at 22.00                          Musical Lecture A Marriage of Pleasure

Dar Adiyel                                          By Tahar Ben Jelloun, in the presence of the author

Selected text read by Nicolas Pignon with music by Driss Al-Maloumi and his ensemble

In Islam, when a man goes travelling, he is permitted to take a wife for the duration. This is known as a marriage of pleasure. So it was under these circumstances that Amir, a prosperous businessman from Fes, temporarily married Nabou, a Peul from Dakar.


20.30 Prefecture Hall, Batha       Eric Bibb  US

                                                                 Origin of the Blues


22.00 Sidi Mohammed Ben         Híbridos

Youssef Cultural Complex            Film screening presented by Vincent Moon & Priscilla Telmon: Brazilian rituals to the gods.


22.00 Cinema Boujloud                 Nile Café

23.00 Dar Pacha Tazi                     Sufi Night




16.30 Jnan Sbil Gardens               Stelios Petrakis Quartet

                                                                The Art of the Cretan Lyra

Cretan music, with Turkish influences after the island became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1669, features the lyra, a three-stringed fiddle, and the laouto or Cretan lute.



20.30 Prefecture Hall, Batha        Lankum  Ireland

                                                                  Ian and Daragh Lynch with Uillean pipes, concertina, Russian accordion, violin and guitar with a traditional repertoire full of the spirit of the Travellers.


22.00 Sidi Mohamed Ben             Ancient Village Rites of Sordogno in Sardinia

Youssef Cultural Complex            Is’Arestes and Urtzu Pretistu

Life, death and rebirth: incantations and masked dance dating from pagan times


22.00 Dar Adiyel                             Taziri

                                                               With Titi Robin on bouzouki, guitar and oud, and Mehdi Nassouli on guembri, percussion and voice.

Mediterranean Blues


22.00 Cinema Boujloud                Nile Café


23.00 Dar Pacha Tazi                      Sufi Night





18.30 Dar Adiyel                           Mchouga-Maboul

                                                            Theatrical tales by Simon Elbaz

                                                            Tales from a village on the eve of independence with Jewish, Muslim and Christian input from the golden age of multi-cultural Andalousia.

20h00 Prefecture Hall, Batha  Yasmine Hamdan  Lebanon

                                                            An elegant mix of electro-folk-Arab pop


22.00 Sidi Mohamed Ben          Dedales 

Youssef Cultural Complex        A cinematographic vision of the lanes and fountains of the medina by Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon,                                                                                   accompanied by the Hamadcha of Fes directed by Abderrahim Amrani.


22.00 Cinema Boujloud              Nile Café

23.00 Dar Pacha Tazi                   Sufi Night



16.30 Jnan Sbil Gardens            Resonance

                                                            With Samuel Cattiau (countertenor) and Pelva Naïk, and Quentin Dujardin on guitar.

Songs of minstrels and troubadours of 17th and 18th centuries, leading us on to the banks of the Ganges with Indian musicians.

18.00 Palais Amani                     Claire Zalamansky

                                                            Ay Petenera!

Sephardic and gypsy songs


21.00 Bab al Makina                 1st part: Poeta en el Mar

                                                            Devised by the great flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo with symphonic orchestra.

2nd part: Badr Rami  Syria, Morocco

                                                         Classical Arab music including traditional songs of Aleppo

23.00 Dar Pacha Tazi              Sufi Night




16.30 Jnan Sbil Gardens          Barbary Violins

With Epi the Mongolian, Morin Khuur on fiddle, Bulgarian Dimitar Gougov (voice and gadulka fiddle) and Frenchman Fabien Guyot on percussion.

World folk, Kazakh blues, Mongolian overtone singing and electric rock

18.00 Dar Batha                            Matrouz

In collaboration with the French Institute in Fes    

Film screening: Matrouz by Simon Elbaz. On the oral tradition of the Jewish Maghreb in French, Latin and Jewish-Spanish features Arabo-Andalous, Jewish Arab and eastern musical inspirations.


21.00 Bab al Makina                   Gospel Night




16.30 Jnan Sbil Gardens          Aziz Sahmaoui  Morocco, Cuba

                                                           Cuban Project

With Harold Lopez-Nussa on piano

From African Gnawa to Orisha ritual


21.00 Bab al Makina                  Majida Al-Roumi  Lebanon

Considered the greatest Arab singer of our time, after the fashion of Oum Kalsoum.

23.00 Dar Pacha Tazi                      Sufi Night

More details to follow, including free evening concerts at Boujloud Square.

Festival Facts


Check our site here to see the type of accommodation you can expect in the Fez medina. We can advise on making sure you make a booking close to Festival venues. Let us know your dates, bed arrangements and budget, and we will send you some options.

Seating and Ticketing

  • Seats are not reserved. Get to the venue in plenty time if you want a good seat.
  • Seats are raked at Bab al Makina; elsewhere they are on the flat. There are usually no or few chairs at the Nights in the Medina or Sufi Nights venues, but carpets on the floor.
bab al makina plan
Plan of Bab al Makina. The stage is on the left.
  • At Bab al Makina, you can buy A or B seats. A seats are located closer to the stage; B seats towards the back of the auditorium. If you buy a pass, you automatically have A seats.
  • There are side screens at Bab al Makina, one on each side of the stage.
  • A pass to all events including the Fes Forum has historically cost 305 Euros and automatically includes A seats for concerts at Bab al Makina.
  • You will be able to buy tickets on this site as soon as they go on sale. Tickets can be delivered to your guesthouse if you are staying in the medina; other arrangements will be made if you are staying elsewhere. Contact us for details at fezriads@gmail.com.


  • Afternoon concerts are held in the Jnan Sbil Gardens. Note that there is no afternoon concert on Wednesday, which makes this a good time to go on a day trip out of Fez – ask us for details of our day excursion to the Roman World Heritage Site of Volubilis, the important pilgrimage town of Moulay Idriss and the imperial city of Meknes. Contact us at fezriads@gmail.com.

batha museum

  • Big evening concerts are held at Bab al Makina, the open-air parade ground in front of the Royal Palace. It’s off the western edge of this map, across Boujloud Square.




  • Free concerts are held each evening at Boujloud Square, close to Bab Boujloud.
  • Nights in the Medina concerts (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) are held in smaller venues including the music conservatory Dar Adiyel (blue 5), Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef Cultural Complex (blue 4) and the Prefecture Hall in Batha opposite the Batha Museum (blue 1).
  • Sufi Nights at 23h00 are free of charge and are held in the garden of Dar Tazi, the Festival headquarters (blue 2).
  • The Fes Forum: no news available yet.



  • Weather can be variable: it can rain, be very cold and windy at Bab al Makina, or stiflingly hot. It’s best to bring layers, something waterproof, a sunhat and a fan.
  • Seats are not particularly comfortable. If necessary, bring a cushion.
  • Consider taking a trip or arranging an activity on Wednesday as there is no afternoon concert. We have an excursion to Volubilis (the Roman World Heritage Site), Moulay Idriss (the most important pilgrimage town in Morocco), with lunch in Moulay Idriss. Contact us to book. You’ll find some more ideas here.
  • Reserve your accommodation in good time as guesthouses closest to festival venues fill up quickly. Getting to the venues is always on foot.
  • Many restaurants serve dinner early and/or later so that you can attend evening concerts. Keep an eye on the What’s Hot! page on this site.