Festivals are the new cupcakes - at least according to Egyptians. We speak to the organisers of Oshtoora, set to hit Ras Sudr this April.
It kind of seems like music festivals are the new cupcakes in Egypt. In the past couple of years it feels like there’s always some new one popping up on some beach, channeling free spirit vibes and let’s-hold-hands-and-kumbaya and all that, and the whole festival frenzy shows no signs of slowing down. Not that this is a bad thing; a platform for a variety of music on some beachside locale is something this country definitely needs. Anyway, the latest festival set to hit the seaside is Oshtoora, which will be taking place in Ras Sudr from the 11th to the 12th of April, organised by none other than the Like Jelly crew.
“We had a different vision for this year,” explains one of the organisers, and Like Jelly band member, Youssef Atwan. This time around, the crew are taking over a valley near the beach in Ras Sudr and “basically building a small village for the festival.” In terms of the music, they’ve promised a varied and divergent selection – so you will not spend three days listening to a series of interchangeable Arabic Rock bands. “The music won’t be restricted to a certain genre,” Atwan elaborates. “There will be Arabic bands, House, Rap, local representation from Ras Sudr itself, and we even have artists lined up from Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Sudan. It’s a really diverse line up and won’t just be restricted to alternative, underground music.”
The village will be equipped to handle the incoming crowd, and you can choose to rent a tent, bring your own, or just come with a sleeping bag and spend the night in a communal tent. There will also be two stages, one on the beach for daytime performances, and another inside the valley, which will start hosting musicians after sunset. The crew have tapped over a hundred musicians to participate in the festival and are even setting up studios in the valley so that the musicians can arrive early, live there for a week or two, collaborate with each other, and have rehearsals on-site and in advance.
They’ve even got Solarize Egypt in on the project, helping them utilise solar energy, and set up mobile charging stations. “We also don’t want to be an environmental hazard to the area,” Atwan says. “We are hosting this festival in a beautiful place and we’d like to keep it that way.”
As for Like Jelly’s musical involvement in the festival? “We won’t necessarily be performing. We’re not doing this festival for ourselves, and we have a rigorous list of criteria for the musicians involved so…we might, we’re not sure yet.”
Well, we shall have to wait and see. Tickets go on sale February 1st, which is also when they’ll be announcing the official line up and prices.