Music in a sandy valley: Final countdown to Sinai's Oshtoora festival

Ahram Online , Friday 23 Jan 2015

The Oshtoora team reveals details about the three-day independent music festival, which is scheduled to take place in Kiteloop, Ras Sudr between 10 and 12 April

Kiteloop, Ras Sudr (Photo: courtesy of Kiteloop)

A new music festival, Oshtoora, will take place from 10-12 April in a valley close to the coastal highway in Ras Sidr in South Sinai. 

The springtime festival promises to be the latest in the exciting new trend of cultural events that hit the scene before the full force of Egypt’s summer heat.

To give a glimpse of what they have in store, the team behind the festival invited partners, musicians, press and some friends to a short presentation on Wednesday about Oshtoora at Vent, the downtown bar, restaurant and performance space.

The presentation was followed by three performances, starting off with tunes led by Abdalla Abozekry on the saz, a long-necked string instrument made popular in Turkey and Iran. Abozekry was followed by Asia Madani alongside her upbeat ensemble, while DJ Eskalob brought the night to a close.

To the organisers, the lineup of the launch was meant to give audiences a sense of the diverse genres that will be featured on the festival’s two stages in April. The full lineup of will be released within the coming week. 

Oshtoora’s music programme is curated by Youssef Atwan and Muhammad El-Quessny, long-time friends who are members of Like Jelly. Last year, Atwan and El-Quessny curated the music programme of 3alganoob, a music festival whose second edition took place in Tondoba Bay, Marsa Alam last April.

In addition to the lineup, which will feature around 15 acts, Oshtoora will feature a Dialogue Tent, a space where facilitated discussions on issues important to the music industry will take place. For the organisers, it was essential to capitalise on the large number of musicians and artists that will come together in one place for three days. 

Oshtoora 2015 will also a boast a visual art component, bringing to life a wealth of playful installations that reflect on a string of asymmetric permutations. “Oshtoora’s visual art programme is led by Dia Hamed and Youssef Faltas, two dedicated scenographers who have promised us ‘a rollercoaster of experiences,’” announced the organisers on Wednesday.

Although music festivals are not new to Egypt, camping festivals are less common. The Oshtoora Village will boast the main stage, two makeshift studios, a large food complex, bathroom units, the dialogue tent, a cinema tent -- curated by art house cinema Zawya -- and a vast camping ground that is built to accommodate between 600-700 people.

The village is located across from Kiteloop, one of the area’s most popular kitesurfing destinations and the festival’s main partner.

The main accommodation provided at Oshtoora 2015 will be within the camping ground built inside the valley. Accommodation at Kiteloop will also be available; however, organisers hope that most festival participants opt for the camping option, promoting the desert as a friendly alternative to more comfortable lodging, a temporary home in nature.

Alongside Kiteloop and Zawya, other collaborators include the new Maadi-based deli Ma7ali, Solarize Egypt, Mafdy Thabet’s Dream Studio and Mada Architects, who put together the preliminary master plan of the campsite.

Bookings for Oshtoora 2015 will open on 1 February.  For more information on the festival, visit their website.



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