First Published: 2017-07-18

Casablanca makes spectacular comeback to international festival scene
Dance, readings, film screenings, childrens shows and street art took place in Casablancas 16 boroughs.
Middle East Online

By Saad Guerraoui - CASABLANCA

Electrifying atmosphere

Moroccos economic capital, Casablanca, has returned to the international festival scene in a spectacular way.

Ten arts were honoured throughout Casa Festival, which ran for ten days in July, during which national and international artists performed. Dance, readings, film screenings, childrens shows and street art took place in Casablancas 16 boroughs.

Festival organisers said the new concept was to make Casa Festival free for the people of Casablanca.

The objective behind the festival is to promote Casablancas attractiveness, both nationally and internationally, draw tourists and reconcile the city with its inhabitants, said Mohamed Jouahri, general manager of Casa Events and Animation.

Casablanca, Moroccos biggest city with more than 5 million inhabitants, has been without an international festival for decades. The Casa Festival is expected to revive the citys cultural and leisure scene.

Entertainers who took part in this years festival included Gloria Gaynor, Five Star, French Montana, Dizzy Dros and Maher Zain in addition to popular Moroccan bands such as Nass El Ghiwane and Jil Jilala.

Gaynor, the American singer whose songs have marked generations, dazzled the crowd with her signature song I will survive.

Im very pleased to be here. Its my third time in Morocco and its always been wonderful. I love coming here, said Gaynor.

Morocco-born French Montana, whose real name is Karim Kharbouch, drew a record-breaking crowd July 8 at the Toro Space for his first concert in his homeland.

I cant believe Im watching French Montana live in Casablanca and for free. Its a dream come true. At last we can say that Casablanca has a real international festival, said Jihane, a 22-year-old student who attended with her sisters and friends.

French Montana is a well-known American rapper. He has dozens of hits and has collaborated with the biggest names in the US rap scene, including Puff Diddy, Drake, Nicki Minaj and Snoop Dogg.

Montana took to social media to share his favourite moments with his fans during his visit in Casablanca.

Used to stay up all night telling my aunt my dreams, until I had to leave Morocco and not see her for 15 years. Last night she watched my dreams come to life. A picture worth a thousand words, Montana wrote on Instagram on his first encounter with his aunt after 15 years.

The festival opening ceremony included a parade by street artists depicting the daily life in Casablanca. An electro parade filled Casablancas streets with tribal and hypnotic rhythms.

Lebanese singer Maher Zain, who is married to a Moroccan, interacted with the crowd with his religious songs.

Film enthusiasts flocked to Sidi Bernoussi beach to watch movies in the open air.

Urban art creation was enhanced by CasaMouja in partnership with graffiti and painting artists as the citys walls were adorned with a second wave of colours to make them more lively, welcoming and unique.

Street art was celebrated with national and international participants in street theatre, circus and tales in all the major public squares of Casablanca.

At the same time as Casa Festival, the first Shop in Casablanca festival was organised to revive the citys shopping districts, such as the long-neglected Boulevard Prince Moulay Abdellah shopping area.

 

Regime strikes in Syria enclave despite ceasefire call

Russia pours cold water on UN bid to condemn Iran over missiles to Yemen

Egypt presidential race starts with Sisi likely to win

Saudi Arabia to boost entertainment in next decade

Blatter supports Morocco bid for 2026 World Cup

More strikes hit E. Ghouta as UN delays truce vote

Turkey says US embassy Jerusalem opening in May 'extremely worrying'

Lebanon says both suspects in Kuwait murder of Filipina maid held

38 dead in Mogadishu car bombings

Morocco police arrests prominent newspaper publisher

Syria regime continues to pound Ghouta as world stutters

UN rights commission wants S.Sudan war crimes charges

Iran grounds airline's ATR planes after crash

Turkey summons Dutch diplomat over Armenian 'genocide' vote

Turkey navy threatens to engage Italian drillship near Cyprus

Iran police shoving headscarf protester sparks social media storm

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire

Dubai says Djibouti illegally seized African port

Dutch parliament recognises 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide

Heavily bombarded Eastern Ghouta awaits UN resolution

Russia says Syria rebels rejected offer to evacuate E. Ghouta

UN diplomats press for Syria ceasefire without Russia veto

Iranian minister’s presence at UN rights meeting angers critics

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business

Qatar to plant thousands of trees to ‘beautify’ World Cup venues

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

African migrants protest Israeli detention policy

Egypt sentences 21 to death for planning attacks

Israeli handball teams in Qatar spark furious outcry from locals

UN report highlights S.Sudan journalist treatment

Palestinian dies after being shot by Israeli soldiers

Gulf states urge Syria to end Ghouta violence

Wanted Bahraini militants die at sea en route to Iran

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls for immediate free elections

Merkel calls for end to 'massacre' in Syria

Iraq urges FIFA to lift ban on hosting internationals

Carnage of Ghouta's bombs breaking families

Blockaded Gaza Strip forced to pump sewage into sea

African migrants start hunger strike over Israel expulsion

UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence

Three militiamen killed in Libya car bomb attack

Russia denies ‘groundless’ accusations of role in Ghouta killings

Turkey says whoever helps YPG is 'legitimate target'

Morocco dismantles IS-linked terrorist cell

Turkey urged to end gas standoff with Cyprus