The festival promotes diversity and discussion through music and art
Rob Woj
10:28 10th April 2017

Over the weekend, the programme of 23rd Fez Festival of World Sacred Music was presented in Barcelona. Founded in 1994, the Festival was designated in 2001 by the United Nations as one of the major events contributing in remarkable fashion to the dialogue between civilisations.

The festival, which will take place from Fri 12 – Sat 20 May 2017 is one the most iconic festivals in the world for celebrating spiritual and holy music. Bringing together renowned musicians and scholars, the festival itself acts like a conference between different religious denominations, creating points of discussion through the sharing of art and music.

As a “beacon of peace from the Islamic world,” the Fes festival is a United Nations-backed cultural event contributing to the dialogue between civilizations.

In its time, the festival has celebrated appearances from Joan Baez, Patti Smith, Björk, Ravi Shankar, and Ben Harper. Bringing together scholars and musicians from all over the world, the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music seeks to promote discussion on a worldwide level.

The festival’s president, Abderrafih Zouitene, posted a statement on the festivals website over the weekend stating the importance of festival’s like the Fez Festival of Sacred Music.

“Over these nine days, the Fes medina becomes the beating heart and melting-pot of artistic expression, philosophical reflection and precious exchange that nourish a spiritual community built upon the knowledge that difference is of value.”

“Through the encounters and musical creations it engenders, underpinned by the constant aim to add value to the non-material heritage of humanity, the festival leads us powerfully towards the human values of liberty, tolerance, independence, openness and curiosity,” said Zouitene.

The Festival is a largely volunteer and grassroots effort based on the intention to utilize the arts festival model to build genuine community cooperation and understanding. First held in 1994, the community around Fez have every year sought to promote multicultural collaboration and a diverse belief system.

The theme of this year’s festival was also announced in Barcelona. Choosing water, the festival wants to bridge conversation into battling the ecological problems surrounding water and the ecosystem.

Speaking about the theme, Zouitene said: “Exploring the symbolism of water at the festival is a plea for us to reconcile ourselves with the environment and to mobilise for the future of our children and the world. A universal symbol of sacred purification as found in mystical poetry, water is in itself an invitation to respect the earth that nourishes us.”

The Fez Festival of World Sacred Music takes place between Fri 12 – Sat 20 May 2017.

To find out more information, visit the festivals website.