This is a festival for those adventurous spirits who are looking for a truly different experience. Set in the middle of the desert on the border of Morocco, among its sloping golden dunes, there is nothing really like it. Transahara's exact location is kept secret, those attending go to a pre-established village, and then are driven 30 minutes away to the festival site. The combination of trance music and the extreme conditions are not for everyone (or even most), and the journey is not easy, but the location, with its breathtaking, almost surreal landscape, is out of this world.
The festival has been steadily growing over the years, from only 50 people attending the first edition in 2002, to 1,000 people in this year's edition. Organisers have said that they will not exceed 2,500 people in the future so as to minimise the environmental impact of the festival.
Due to the remoteness of the location, there are logistical problems, and some of the artists and equipment of this year's edition were not able to make it to the festival.
As can be expected, the atmosphere is unique. The festival is very intimate, with many of the same people returning year after year. This year's theme was 'Return to the Future', a meditation on the lost wisdom of the past, and how it can be recaptured in the future. The festival showcases a range of electronic music: psychedelic trance, house, minimal, chill out and world music. It is miles away from the mass hedonism of the big commercial electronic festivals.
The announced line-up included artists like Ajja, U-Recken and Mathias Meyer. Check out the official page for the full line-up
Stages and other entertainment
There are three stages, Morokoloko that plays techno and house, the Nomadstribe stage that plays trance, and the Lunar stage that plays a mix of goa, chill out, and dub.
There are also a host of artists that create fantastic and bizarre sculptures, light shows, installations, live performances.
There is also a pool to escape the desert heat!
Basic tickets this year cost €350 and included transport from Marrakech, Casablanca or Ouarzazat round trip, entrance to the festival, and four breakfast and lunch or dinner, as well as a spot in a camp tent.
For €520 it is possible to buy an upgraded ticket that includes all of the above and a spot in one of the more spacious and comfortable Moon tents.
It is possible to buy tickets for €160 that only include entrance, but then you will have to figure out how to get to the festival and buy food there.
The desert is normally very hot in the day, but can get chilly at night. Due to the time of year, the conditions are not so extreme (its still hot though!), the official site give average daytime temperatures of 31 degrees and nighttime temperatures of 17.
The big airports in Morocco are Marrakesh and Casablanca, and the festival arranges transport to pick you up from there. It is possible to organise your own transport, but remember that this is Morocco and not Europe.
What to wear
Bring everything from a jacket and sweater for when its cold, and shorts and swim trunks for during the day.
Also, don't forget your sunscreen!
Camping and Accommodation
All the camping is organised beforehand in traditional Moroccan style, so you don't have to bring a tent. The accommodation are very characteristic, complete with traditional rugs, and even mattresses, so a step up from the usual uncomfortable sleeping bag and tarp or cheap tent.
There is also a desert Hotel that can be booked. Contact the organisers for more information.
There are showers and toilets on location.
Food and drink
There is a restaurant on location. It is not possible to bring any bottles, cans, or containers, as there is a strict "no trace" policy.
Alcohol is not allowed.
Festival founder, Abdou Elouali, had the idea to create the festival while climbing a 150 meter tall sand dune right before sunrise.