As part of our 'musical destinations' series we return to Rabat, the capital of Morocco, for their thirteenth series of Mawazine.

Having personally witnessed fine international acts such as Sting, Santana and Lenny Kravitz strut their magnificent stuff on the main OLM Souissi stage, it was no surprise to hear that Justin Timberlake's opening performance of this year's edition was greeted with much enthusiasm.
The musical celebration Mawazine festival - Rhythms of the World, from May 30th - June 7th, encompasses a multitude of genres and artists with opting to attend the closing leg of the event to catch headliners Robert Plant, Ricky Martin and Alicia Keys.

Inspired by King Mohammed 6th, or M6 as he is affectionately known in Rabat, the festival showcases the cream of African music whilst also providing a platform for major international artists to play their hits to an enthusiastic Moroccan audience. With free entry to gigs, a limited number of 'gold circle' tickets are also available for a real up-close experience. Driven forward by Maroc Cultures Association the festival has become a staple in the African territories with artists and fans flocking from far and wide to witness the spectacle.

Events on the ten stages take place in the evening, leaving ample time for the obligatory sightseeing, although street performances start a little earlier. My first musical experience at this year's event was the hard hitting Les Tambours du Maroc, a conglomerate of African drummers, showcasing their rhythmical repertoire as they walked down the street. Check out the video below.

Depending on your time and energy levels, the hustle and bustle of the old medina is an alluring proposition in which to sample the sight, sounds and tastes of the old walled city. Miles of unspoilt beach around the city offers a welcome break from the bustling medina as does Chellah, an ancient city to the south of Rabat. Or you can follow in the footsteps of The Beatles and Rolling Stones alike by drinking mint tea at Cafe Hafa overlooking the sea.
With sunny weather an almost rock solid guarantee, Mawazine offers a hot, cultural alternative to the muddy British music festival.
The 13th edition of the Mawazine Festival surpassed all previous attendance records, welcoming 2,620,000 people, so next year, make sure that you don't miss out on the majesty and mystique of all that Mawazine offers in one of North Africa's richest cultural hotspots.

Check out all our reviews:
Robert Plant
Ricky Martin
Fatoumata Diawara
Alicia Keys

Mawazine Festival
Maroc Cultures
Morocco Tourism