Fes Festival of World Sacred Music 2021

12-20 June 2020

Architecture and the Sacred

Unfortunately, this year’s Fes Festival of World Sacred Music has had to be cancelled due to the corona virus pandemic. As soon as dates for 2021 are released, we’ll publish them here. It’s likely to be in the first half of June. See you next year in Fez, insha’allah!

NOTE FOR ARTISTS: This is not the official website of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. If you wish to participate in the Festival, contact the Artistic Director, Alain Weber, at downtheline@wanadoo.fr.

Soweto Gospel Choir, Fes 2019

Soweto Gospel Choir, Fes 2019 

FESTIVAL FACTS

Accommodation

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

Venues

  • Afternoon concerts are held in the Jnan Sbil Gardens (photo below: The View from Fez)
  • 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 are held in smaller venues of Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef Cultural Complex (blue 4) and the Ibn Danan Synagogue in the Mellah (Fez el Jdid). The Ben Youssef Complex is the most challenging venue to find and lots of people give up on it. Don’t fall for this – it’s easy once you know how. Buy a map from the kiosks in Batha square, or have a look at this map here. It’s round the corner from Riads Alkantara, Souafine, Mayfez, 20 Jasmins Spa and Dar al Safadi.
  • Sufi Nights at 23h00 are free of charge and could be held at Dar Tazi (blue no. 2) if the renovations are complete, or at the Prefecture Hall opposite the Batha Museum (blue no. 1).
  • The Fes Forum: Held on the first two mornings of the festival, this takes place at the Prefecture Hall in Batha, opposite the Batha Museum (blue 1).

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 venues, but carpets on the floor for sitting on.

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 is a side screen at Bab al Makina, on one side of the stage.
  • A pass to all events including the Fes Forum costs 350 Euros and automatically includes A seats for concerts at Bab al Makina.

Tips

  • 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. In mid-June, you can expect temperatures of at least 30 degrees C.
  • Seats are not particularly comfortable. If necessary, bring a cushion. In some venues, there are no chairs, but carpets on the floor to sit on.
  • Consider taking a trip or arranging an activity while you are in Fez, especially as days are free until 4pm. You’ll find some ideas here. We organise our well-loved annual day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Roman site of Volubilis and the pilgrimage town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoune on the Wednesday of the festival (17 June), when there are no concerts until the evening. We also offer a tour of the Jewish quarter, the Mellah, led by expert Cathérine Bendayan and the ever-popular Artisanal Affairs tour. Contact us to book.
  • Reserve your accommodation in good time as guesthouses closest to festival venues fill up quickly. Getting to the venues is always on foot, except for the Ibn Danan Synagogue in the Mellah, for which you could take a taxi. It’s about 25 minutes’ walk from Batha.
  • 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 closer to the festival.

FAQS

Where can I buy tickets?

Buy them online through the festival website www.fesfestival.com. The site will eventually be in English, too. You can buy tickets at the door, though there is a risk that the concert might be sold out.

When should I start thinking about accommodation?

Now. Guesthouses convenient for festival venues are the first to sell out. As many guesthouses do not require a deposit in advance, you can book now. If you need to cancel, do so at least one month in advance to avoid cancellation fees. Check out our selection of guesthouses here (we have plenty of others, too). Let us know how many rooms and beds you require, give us your dates and an idea of your budget. We’ll then send you some options.

What else is there to do in Fez?

Every year, we host an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Roman site of Volubilis followed by a delicious lunch in the pretty pilgrimage town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun. This is scheduled for the Wednesday of the festival when there are no concerts until 18h00, so you won’t miss a thing. Contact us for details: fezriads@gmail.com.

We also have plenty of other activities from the ever-popular Artisanal Affairs tour, a tour of the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter, cooking classes, Architectural Insights into the wonders of the Fez medina and plenty more. Check out some ideas here.

For a taster, see my article about the Festival published on 7 June 2019 on the Lonely Planet website:

 https://www.lonelyplanet.com/morocco/the-mediterranean-coast-and-the-rif/fes/travel-tips-and-articles/spotlight-on-fes-festival-of-world-sacred-music/40625c8c-8a11-5710-a052-1479d2751307
Ensemble Moxos, Jnan Sbil Garden, Fes 2019

Ensemble Moxos, Jnan Sbil Garden, Fes 2019