Oasis Festival 2016 review

Hannah Brierley spent the weekend in a Marrakech paradise soundtracked by the likes of Motor City Drum Ensemble, The Black Madonna and Hunee.

Becca Frankland

Last updated: 28th Sep 2016.
Originally published: 23rd Sep 2016

Image: Oasis Festival Credit: Lahcen Mellal

The Oasis Festival in Marrakech is a truly unique experience. Based in the luxurious Source Hotel, the festival really lives up to its name as DJs perform across the three days by the pool side, amongst palm trees, surrounded by the Atlas Mountains. 

What’s really striking about Oasis was the wide variety of nationalities that attended the festival. From California to Belgium, it appealed to the local and the global. It’s wonderful to be a part of such a vibrant and multicultural festival, which still also managed to flaunt its Moroccan roots.

Oasis offered delicious local food in Le Jardin, we particularly enjoyed Nomad’s meaty Moroccan sandwiches. There were also plenty of refreshments on offer, in addition to the various booze bars dotted around the site there was the Corto Juice bar which offered a variety of freshly made fruit and vegetable smoothies.

Or if you fancied lounging in style, the champagne bar offered Laurent Perrier rose, brut champagnes and Laduree macaroons. Beautiful handmade Moroccan carpets and cushions could be bought in The Souk and you could even attend a yoga class or have a massage. The décor was creative and again paid homage to its Moroccan setting with LED cacti and pulsing star shaped lamps strewn above the DJ decks.

Many things typically associated with festivals (mud, rain, someone being carried out in their own vomit) were nowhere to be seen. The toilets were immaculate and the only time anyone got wet was from a voluntary dip in the beautiful pool positioned in front of the Desert Oasis stage – a lovely place to cool down after a sweaty dancing session. In many ways Oasis felt more like a house party in a mansion you’d only be invited to in your wildest dreams. And yet, the people were so down to earth? It’s so effortlessly cool.

Then of course there was the music. Motor City Drum Ensemble’s Sunday disco vibes went together with Oasis’ sun kissed setting like tea and biscuits, wine and cheese. By far one of the best sets of the festival. It’s hard not to feel elated when your paddling is accompanied by a jazzy saxophone and disco beat. Feel good tunes like BLO’s 'Make Your Body Move' and Wardell Piper’s 'The Power of Love' were blasted as the sun set over a glistening pool and grinning crowd – definitely a highlight.

Similar stand out moments included Midland’s mind blowing Friday night set, which was accompanied by a huge full moon. He played tracks that demanded to be danced to. As did another personal favourite Hunee who followed Midland, starting his set with the unusual and upbeat 'Ilè' by Jasper Van’t Hof Pili Pili. His energy and enthusiasm whilst behind the decks really translated into the tracks he played and when we spoke to some of the attendees after, many mentioned him as a highlight.

The Black Madonna stole Saturday with her 12-2 slot in the Arena as she casually took a bite of pizza whilst dropping Italoboyz 'Bahia' sending us festival-goers into a frenzy. It was lovely to discover new acts as well such as the extremely talented Virginia who played live in the Arena with DJ Steffi on Sunday. We particularly loved her track 'Funkert' (produced by her Martyn and Dexter) which was immediately downloaded the following day. We urge you to do so as well. Syrian musician Omar Souleyman was also a real crowd pleaser. Their flawless lineup really is impossible to fault. 

In between acts festival goers could visit The Magic Carpet; a luxuriously mellow hang out found slightly elevated from the stages, scattered with embroidered cushions and surrounded by fountains. This was the perfect place to take a breather. The thumping bass of The Desert Oasis stage and the instrumental rhythms of The Arena collide here and make for an interesting listen as you sip your Moroccan tea or try a bit of shisha. Pure bliss.

The Oasis festival is hedonistic heaven. A party in paradise with world class DJs. Not to mention it’s affordable, with hotel packages offered and a free shuttle bus service to and from the festival site. If you like the sound of lounging on a blow up unicorn whilst Bicep blasts Kyla’s 'Do You Mind' – then this is a festival to add to your wish list. 

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