Music from the Soothing South
Think of one of the best music festival you have attended, and place it 800 Kilometers away from Cairo where the sky is your ceiling, endless sea in front of you, and various melodies entertaining your thirst for relaxation. This is 3algnoob festival that took part on the 3rd to the 5th of May at the Deep South Eco-lodge in South of the Red Sea, Marsa Alam. To those who are unfamiliar with MarsaAlam, it is a divine haven for divers and those who are willing to drive about 10 hours away from Cairo to get some serenity.
The festival didn’t only showcase local talents including live performances by Like Jelly, Abo WelShabab, and Yosra El Hawary, but it was also an educational festival holding workshops on eco-toursim, community development meetings with local Ababda, and environmental protection activities including a beach clean up and coral reef reservation info session. For those who looked for a body-mind-and-soul experience, daily morning Yoga sessions were conducted right on the beachby the renowned Ashtanga Yoga instructor ImanElsherbini. In the evenings film screenings were held showing independent films like “El Hawi” directed by Ibrahim Batout and “Microphone” directed by Ahmed Abdallah.
One of the highlights of the festival was the daily drum circle held at sunset by the beach. Attendees of the festivalwith or without a musical background, can simply hold a drum or any musical instrument, and naturally follow the spontaneous beat of the group, it was like making beautiful music in the most organic way.
For first timers in Marsa Alam, daily trips were planned to the famous attractions of Marsa Alam including this magical place called Al Naizak. Believed to have been hit by a meteor, given its shape as a natural pool, Al Naizak is one of the most hidden spots in Marsa Alam. A group of enthusiasts went with big trash bags to clean the Naizak area from left-behind plastic bottles and garbage, and also enjoy a day in the sun by this heavenly spot.
Some of the must-try delicacies of Marsa Alam is the Gabbana Coffee made by the local Ababda; it is a slowly brewed coffee, where the beans are roasted over a low fire in a pot over the sand blended with ginger and sugar, you drink it like an espresso shot and ask for another.
Having the festival in Marsa Alam was not only for people to escape the city, but it was also meant as a boost to encourage eco-tourism in one of the most beautiful forgotten spots in Egypt. Marsa Alam faces a fuel shortage crisis on a daily basis since the revolution, which deferred many tourists and even regulars from visiting the very far place, so the festival was an attempt to not only raise awareness on eco-tourism, but also to encourage more people to visit Marsa Alam.
The Deep South Eco-Lodge is the only eco-lodge in all of Marsa Alam, owned by Karim Noor, an author and a diving legend, he hopes that more give attention to the human element of Marsa Alam, “the local community suffers the most in Marsa Alam, they have very poor education and many health problems in addition to the fact that drinking water and fuel is scarce”, Noor says.
Enjoying your vacation should never be the burden of others; this is what 3alganoob Festival hoped to establish that we can enjoy a time of relaxation and fun while bettering our communities and living environmentally sane at a time where over-fishing the oceans and marginalizing indigenous communities is the norm. So grab your sandals and beach towel, hit the road, car pool to the Deep South of the Red Sea, and always remember to clean-up after your self.