Fodor's Expert Review Gnaoua and World Music Festival
Essaouira is always packed over the third weekend of June, as tens of thousands of people from all over the world come to enjoy the annual four-day Gnaoua and World Music Festival. It's one of the best times to listen to traditional Gnaoua musicians. These descendants of enslaved Africans established associations across Morocco and are healers and mystics as well as musicians. Among their troupes of metal castanet (krakab) players, bass lute (gimbri) players, and drummers, they have mediums and clairvoyants who perform wild, spellbinding acts. If you plan to visit the festival, make sure you reserve accommodations at least three months in advance as hotels and guesthouses will be full.