Beat Hotel, Marrakech

I wasn’t planning on going back to Marrakech after a pretty disastrous trip back in 2011 (see my other post about that), but when I was asked if I’d like to shoot Beat Hotel, a four day festival overlooking the Atlas Mountains… well I jumped at the chance!

Beat Hotel has been a staple at Glastonbury since 2011 (the tent we always go to on the Sunday night to grasp those last precious Glasto moments) and was travelling to Morocco for the first time over Easter weekend. Held in the Fellah Hotel, one of the most striking festival settings I’ve seen, with red villas contrasting against sculptured green cacti, and swimming pools framed by palm trees.

A small festival with a lovely bunch of people, we enjoyed headline sets from Maribou State and Young Fathers, DJ sets from Gilles Peterson and James Holden, epic poolside sessions, secret house parties, creative classes from the likes of Patternity and a whole range of wellness workshops… disco nap yoga, early morning meditation, gong baths and mystical tarot readings.

Here’s a few of my favourite shots from the weekend. See you there next year?

Poolside at the Fellah Hotel, Marrakech

Poolside at the Fellah Hotel, Marrakech

Making (positive) Marrakech memories

Memories from my first visit to Marrakech back in 2011 are not particularly happy ones. I was constantly running to the bathroom (food poisoning), feeling endlessly harassed, upset at having my arse grabbed by a teenager and ended up crying on the doorstep to our riad. To top it all off my relationship was coming to an end. That holiday sealed the deal I think.

I swore I’d never go back to Marrakech. So when I was asked if I’d like to shoot Beat Hotel festival in March (see my other post here), I did hesitate… for about two seconds… then proceeded to book flights and give Marrakech a second chance.

And Marrakech had changed. A lot. Or perhaps I had?

I hadn’t remembered how much of a vibrant and mysterious city it was, that you could lose yourself for hours in a labyrinth of tiny alleyways. A real city of extremes… busy and noisy in Jemaa el-Fna (the main square), with calm and tranquil spots tucked away from the Medina. Souk vendors seemed way more relaxed this time, people were friendlier (apart from the kid who told me to f*ck off!) and I was in photography heaven. Filled with rich colours and the intoxicating scent of spices, I fell head over heels in love with Marrakech this time.

Jemaa el-Fna, the main square in the heart of Marrakech

Jemaa el-Fna, the main square in the heart of Marrakech