By Kizzi Asala with AFP
A Music Festival for African and Middle Eastern Talent
Visa For Music, based in Rabat Morocco, is one of the most important music festivals for musicians hailing from Africa and the Middle East as it sets the stage for performers to present their art to event organisers, tour managers from Europe for tour dates and concert programming — and likewise for European talent looking for gigs in Africa.
This year, however, the festival will be 100% virtual in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Brahim el Mezned, the Director & Founder of Visa For Music, outlined how this year’s festival will take place, “We invited the musicians who were selected by a jury. Unfortunately, we could not invite artists from outside the country because most of the borders are closed. So we concentrated on Moroccan artists and foreign musicians based in Morocco. We offered them lodging, food and compensation and produced videos for them which will be presented at the festival.”
The Pandemic Has Hurt Concerts and Tours
Visa for Music is a festival created to facilitate global industry access for African and Middle Eastern musicians who often can not afford to attend other major international music festivals abroad such as Europe or in the United States — as there are often also additional challenges and complications in terms of immigration paperwork for travel.
It is much easier for these artists to go to Rabat in Morocco where the Visa for Music festival still grants them international opportunities.
The director shares his concerns for African and Middle eastern talent, “They tour a lot in European festivals, particularly during summer and now I am afraid that unfortunately many of these musicians will quote on quote “fall under the ‘international radar.’ It’s certain that there will be a lot of victims of this crisis and a lot of artistic projects will disappear for sure.”
International Stages for African and Middle Eastern Musicians
The African continent and the Middle East have an enormous pool of highly talented musicians and bands ready to showcase their artistry.
Unfortunately, this year’s global health crisis sees music festivals cancelled.
Brahim el Mezned is still hopeful about the future, “Nevertheless, I hope in 2021, Covid-19 will just be a bad memory and the festival organiser will once again invite musicians — especially from Africa and the Middle East because the musicians and their families depend a lot on those international tours.”
The Visa For Music musical festival and business conferences in Rabat stream online via Facebook, Instagram and zoom until this Saturday, November 21.