From 1-12 June, the Oufuqy Music Forum will present live performances, film screenings, lectures, workshops and seminars, aiming at promoting independent music to a diversified audience in Alexandria.
Organised by the Gudran Association for Art and Development, the festival aspires to develop the alternative musical scene in the city and support independent bands of various musical genres.
Now in its fourth year, the forum will feature performances by 23 local and international artists and bands, including Tranzit band, Kovacs and Dyberg, Soot fel Zahma, Object Obscure, Rouh trio, Oliver Coates, and R.T. Nuba band.
There will also be three film screenings, a lecture about “maqam” in oriental music by Mohamed Anter, and a workshop held by Oliver Coates that tackles non-traditional techniques in playing the cello.
Activities will be hosted by Gudran Art Spaces, El-Dokan, El Cabina and Wekalet Behna, in addition to various cultural venues in Alexandria, including the French Institute, the Goethe Institute, the Jesuit Culture Centre, the Atelier of Alexandria, and others.
“Following an agreement with its owner, three performances will be held at Odeon Cinema in Alexandria, which will open its doors for Oufuqy after being closed for more than 20 years,” Abdalla Daif, programme manager at Gudran association told Ahram Online.
Other events will take place in different venues, including cafes, streets, and churchyards.
“This year, we have worked on expanding our geographical zone to reach new and untraditional public spaces in which to hold the festival’s activities — even deserted spaces,” Daif said.
Daif stressed that Oufuqy’s activities are free to the public.
“We want to give the audience the opportunity to be in daily contact with music and its makers,” he said.
According to Daif, the festival aims to support independent artists and bands.
“We hope to provide a space for musical bands to meet and exchange experiences and opinions about difficulties and challenges that encounter them in producing music,” he explained.
“By observing the musical scene in recent years, we realised that a lot of independent music bands tend to have links with the commercial stream." This link, according to Daif, can pose a threat to the status reached by independent music in previous years, operating in a parallel market that can attract diverse sections of the audience.
“We must make use of this variety in contemporary independent music and work on spreading it on a wider scale among diverse sectors of listeners,” he said.
Daif argues that organising a music festival in Alexandria is very challenging.
“We try to encourage artists and bands to play as volunteers or be paid in part,” he said, adding that cultural events in Alexandria do not get enough media coverage compared to those taking place in Cairo.
To address these issues, the Oufuqy Music Forum is organising a seminar on the challenges facing the independent music market in Egypt.
The forum will also feature a workshop on music festival management, which will be moderated by artist Rasmus Steffensen, founder and manager of Fano Free Folk Festival in Denmark, and director of public relations at Copenhagen Jazz House.
“We are working on extending genres and locations every year, and we hope to increase the duration of the Oufuqy Music Forum so that it is held in the future for one whole month each year,” concluded Daif.
The festival runs between 1 and 12 June.
Check the programme below for more details: