Archive: How I Got Into Festival Gnaoua In Essaouira Without A Ticket

Hindi Zahra at Gnaoua Festival

Journalist? Not yet.

Sagacious? You judge.

You’re working for Poketudiant Magazine but you’re no journalist yet. There’s a festival that you badly want to attend but you won’t get your Press Card before September. What do you do?

Monday, 26th June 2017:

Eager to go to Festival Gnaoua, I start visualizing myself in Essaouira walking down its windy streets, eating sea food and dancing with hot girls. I ask my cousin if there is an available seat for me in her car. « Sorry. The car is full », She said. Her words felt like ice cubes on my heart. I travel back with my dreams to reality where I am now at work, unable to stop thinking about my fantasies.

Boom! Dream is dead!

Tuesday, 29th:

My phone has always been on air plane mode if not silent. But today, for no specific reason, I changed my ringing tone feeling like an important call is coming.

Few minutes later, I feel the vibration in my pocket. My cousin is calling. Is this the call I am waiting for?

The conversation goes as following.


« Hello, how are you doing? »


« Let’s cut the bull. I’ve got you a seat in the car and we’re hitting the road first thing tomorrow morning. Are you in? »


(My mind’s already in Essaouira)

« Is that even a question? »

Taken by: Rajaa Belfaqih

          One day later. Right at the Borj Bab Marrakech’s gate where Hindi Zahra is performing. No one is allowed an entrance without his Press Card or a ticket that costs 250 DH. « I didn’t cross that road for nothing », I say to myself. I then call my boss and ask him to make a Photoshoped Press Card and, given that being cool is not one of his problems, he does as asked and texts me the picture. I print in a flashlight speed and get back in the hope of making plan B work.

          Fake badge on my chest, slow steps to increase confidence and fluent English to sound like a native. I penetrate the first gate and get stopped by a security guard who let me in just to avoid the embarrassment of a conversation in a language he doesn’t understand a word. All that is left on the way IN is another gate; certainly more severe but definitely has its flaws. And it’s my job to find them.

          I hear an argument going in French between a multilingual Security Guard and a French journalist. She, a blond beautiful girl from France 24, had an arranged interview with the night’s star; Hindi Zahra, but she wasn’t given IN for reasons they were trying to sort out with phone calls. Bottom line is I heard and understood the whole conversation but decided not to take part so they’d think I don’t understand. The journalist is finally good to enter as comes my turn to convince the execrable muscle (the guard). I told him I was with the journalist for the interview. She in French, me in English. He nodded. Next thing I hear is ? Standing on your two knees baby, tell me what do you need … Ohhhh!!! ?

          As easy as it keeps crossing my mind, every system is vulnerable. You just have to use your brain and follow Poketudiant Mag.

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