Gnaoua Festival is a jazz, pop, rock, soul and contemporary world music festival in Morocco. Rooted in traditional North African culture, Gnanoua welcomes a diverse and unique selection of artists to the port city of Essaouira each May.
The four days the city comes alive bustling with markets, street performances, walkabout theatre and much more in an explosion of vibrancy and colour.
Reflecting African identity at its fullest, Gnaoua is a carnival like no other, with festival – goers dancing round Essaouira’s charming squares and labyrinth streets in a dazzling celebration of times past, present and future.
In this melting pot of musical fusion, the Gnaoua masters invite players of jazz, pop, rock and contemporary world music to explore new avenues.
The festivals see up to 500,000 visitors every year over four days, many of the performances can be viewed for free, which complicates comparison with other festivals.
Essaouira, the venue of Gnaoua, is a port city on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast, famed for its bustling streets and beautiful beaches. The city is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.