What happens when you mix DJs like Jyoty, Kink, and Anja Schneider, Morocco’s delicious cuisine, and a beautiful location sitting halfway between the desert and the ocean? The first-ever hybrid edition of Oasis Into the Wild, which has taken place on September 23 and 24.
Born in 2015, Oasis prides itself on embodying Marrakech by working and establishing long-lasting relationships with local vendors, chefs, and art collectives. But this year, director Marjana Jaidi decided to shake things up by moving the festival to Dakhla, a dreamy destination in Morocco. “Oasis is still gonna happen in Marrakech eventually; Into the Wild is a new concept,” she explains. “This is the nomadic version of it, and the idea is to, once again, embody the destination that it’s in.”

Consequently, Dakhla’s environment has been present throughout the 2-day festival: in the food stalls and gastronomic experiences by Mouton Noir and Lalla Mina, where attendees could savour the area’s famous seafood (veggie options included, of course), or in parallel activities like boat trips and quad rides through the desert. “It’s been really cool to incorporate the surroundings into the festival,” celebrates Marjana. “In the other destination next year, these elements might change because every destination is different, which makes each concept unique. I find that very exciting and challenging.”

What next year’s edition will bring, we don’t know yet. But this edition of Oasis Into the Wild has been exhilarating and surprisingly intimate. Taking place at the Dakhla Club hotel, the one-stage-only structure made it possible for everyone to be together and not miss any of their favourites on the line-up.
On Friday, the festival kicked off with a handful of local talent, including DJs Capra (aka Rania Hassani), AMVN, and duo Wahm, who played rather chill but danceable sets as the sun set behind them. They were followed by one of the festival’s heavyweights, Berlin-based DJ, producer and broadcaster Anja Schneider, who delighted us with a two-hour mix that intertwined house music (including Snap!’s Rhythm is a Dancer) and techno.

She was followed by Agoria, who slowed down the BPMs for a set that, in his characteristic style, blended a wide range of genres and transported us to a liminal space between dreams and reality. Kink brought us back to earth, or more specifically, to the ground, as his energising live set had everyone dancing and jumping till 2 am, even when he stopped the heavy bass to play more relaxing sounds on the keyboard. And finally, Mind Against’s closing set built up momentum, playing slowly but surely into an explosion of music and happiness.

On Saturday, Jyoty set the tone for the rest of the day (and night) right from the start. Her infectious energy lit up the dance floor with hits ranging from J Balvin and Tokischa’s Perra to Benny Benassi’s Y2K anthem Satisfaction, to Master At Work’s Work, as well as a myriad of other genres including Punjabi music and reggeaton. Then, Panorama Bar residents Tama Sumo & Lakuti won our hearts with their charisma and b2b set, full of soulful vocal house music and the sunset as the backdrop. Pure magic.
After them, Myd took over the stage. The French DJ and producer was ready for a wild party – and so was the audience. The artist played a banging techno set that people danced effusively to, making the most of the beginning of the night. Then, it was Âme’s turn. Well, half of it, as the duo formed by Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann sometimes go separate ways to play in different locations at the same time. But don’t get it wrong, Wiedemann’s live set wasn’t at fifty per cent; on the contrary, it was one hundred per cent. The German artist played music for the mind and body, threading a journey through emotional and cinematic songs.

And finally, Amine K was the icing on the cake. What was supposed to be a 2-hour set turned into a 4-hour celebration of togetherness, music and beauty. It is easier said than done, but the Moroccan DJ turned those 4 hours into pure ecstasy, playing hits like Whitney Houston’s Every Woman, mixing them with heavier bangers to then go back to house music rhythms and sounds. An incredibly long journey that kept us up until almost sunrise.

This is the first time the festival takes place outside Marrakech, its birthplace, and it was a bold choice to move it to Dakhla, a place as beautiful as it is inaccessible. Collecting feedback from faithful festival-goers, the opinion was divided. But the director knew that already. “The festival isn’t meant to be an elitist concept or one that is limiting for the people who don’t have the financial means,” Marjana says. “It just so happens that this destination is hard to get to. So next year, the location will be much more accessible.” However, she also feels this choice paid off in the mood and vibe: “The ones who’re here really want to be here. That’s what makes the crowd so special.”

While we wait on next year’s edition, we’ll keep in mind the festival’s eagerness to step out of its comfort zone, challenging the audience to always go one step further. And what better way to do it than with the quote on Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, which was printed on the festival’s cups: “The very basic core of a living spirit is passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
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