Oasis: Into the Wild in Morocco is a festival-lover’s dream destination

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  • Published on September 22, 2022
  • Last Updated March 10, 2023
  • In Events

Electronic music-lovers, gourmands and those in search of self-healing will all have something to do in Dakhla at Into the Wild.

It doesn’t take water to make waves in the desert. This has been proven every year since 2015 by the Oasis music festival, which brings vibrating sonic symphonies of electronic dance music to the meeting point between the Sahara and the sea found in the uniquely positioned peninsular city of Dakhla. This year’s festival, on September 23 and 24, is expanding to incorporate themes of wellness and adventure in addition to thumping bass and sweaty dance floor grooves and promises to bring a new melody of experiences that are full body and beyond.

The setting

With a history predating our oldest records, and a geography uniquely defined by land’s intrusion into the sea, the city of Dakhla, where the weather is comfortable all year round, creates the ideal backdrop for a suite of festive activities. The lagoon created by the peninsula’s inner coast and the mainland is a highly sought-after kitesurfing destination, drawing tourists from all over the world. The history of the area includes a long period of Spanish rule, making it culturally distinct from other parts of Morocco. Women are able to move through the city freely and unaccompanied without attracting undue attention. Beyond the poolside parties that will shape festivalgoers’ experiences, one of the local cultural experiences that any visitor must try is an afternoon Saharwi tea, an occasion during which the local blend is steeped, poured and served with different methods across multiple servings, creating an experience with multiple “courses.”

The music

The lineup for this year’s event blends the best of the music scene abroad with the offerings of homegrown favorites in the genre. Trailblazers of the Moroccan electronic music scene, Amine K and Yasmean, ground the lineup in local flavor. Based in Casablanca, Amine K is considered an electronic-music ambassador, bridging the gaps between the African and European music scenes with his Dubai-based sets and international excursions. According to the artist, who names B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix among his musical idols, music saved his life and showed him a pathway to freedom and acceptance that he wants to share with everyone, including those headed to Dakhla.

A product of her mother’s cassette collection, Yasmean has been shaping the electronic music scene in Morocco from a young age. She got her start writing articles for a local Casablanca electronic music magazine, and then progressed to curating sets and creating opportunities for other DJs through booking shows. She believes that everyone deserves a free platform for self-expression and giving other musicians a platform is a key part of her artistry.

Other acts included in the festival lineup come from Dubai and across Europe, with Ame, Anja Schneider and Tama Sumo representing Germany; Agoria, WAHM, and Myd taking up for France; KiNK hailing from Bulgaria and Jyoty from the United Kingdom. AMVN, with his roots in Dubai, bridges the gap, representing the city where many of these artists first make an impression on each other’s respective markets.

The venue

The bassline’s headquarters for the weekend take residence at Dakhla Club, a resort of 55 bungalows and positioned just 100 meters from the sea. Views of the sunset are available from seaside vantages and a friendly, attentive staff becomes familiar over the course of your stay. The resort is heavily oriented toward kitesurfing, making it easy to incorporate an experience into any stay, and the spa services are not to be missed.

The menu

Aniss Meski: Born in Casablanca, raised in Canada and trained with a keen eye towards balancing the classic with the innovative, Aniss Meski, of Marrakech-based Mouton Noir, will be one of the chefs serving up plates at this year’s festival. The gourmand prides himself on taking approaches to classic dishes with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and signature combinations. He may elevate a simple dish, like steak and fries with a weeklong red wine marinade, or build around a “boring” vegetable, like Jerusalem Artichoke, with coffee paste and shaved egg-yolk seasoning.

Yasmine Ksikes: A product of the kitchen where she learned at her mother’s apron strings, Yasmina Ksiskes is an Los Angeles-based chef who teaches others the fundamentals of Moroccan cooking and caters classics from the region in private event service. Ksiskes is known for her inventive touch with whatever fresh, local produce she can find and her knack for taking a plant-based approach to her country’s native cuisine.

Barometre: As the first mixology bar in Morocco, this gastronomically inspired bar takes pride in crafting their cocktails with macerations, infusions and bitters made in house.

Oyster Bar: Due to the uniquely pristine conditions of the lagoon, which is ecologically protected and absent of heavy fishing or marine industry, the area’s oysters have become prized for their freshness and superiority. They are pulled by hand in a traditional practice that involves no machinery, preserving their undiluted quality. The oysters pulled from nearby waters are sold first to vendors right on the coast, and only if there are enough left over will they be shipped to outlying cities, ensuring that those served in the city are the best quality you can find.

The experience

After nights spent dancing out any worries and frustrations, restorative healing practices for the body are on tap in the form of yoga and pyramid sound healing sessions. Once the needs of the body are sated, festival attendees have the opportunity to feed their appetite for adventure through coastal explorations on guided boat tours or more extreme excursions like kitesurfing and quad biking. Between the bursts of activity, periods of restoration and hours of pulsating beats, festivalgoers should expect a weekend that flows seamlessly between excitement, rhythm and relaxation.

This story was created by Detour, a journalism brand focused on the best stories in Black travel, in partnership with McClatchy’s The Charlotte Observer and Miami Herald. Detour’s approach to travel and storytelling seeks to tell previously under-reported or ignored narratives by shifting away from the customary routes framed in Eurocentrism. The detour team is made up of an A-list of award-winning journalists, writers, historians, photographers, illustrators and filmmakers.

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