Egypt’s live music scene is constantly fluctuating. One season we have mammoth international headliners playing back to back across multiple clubs like some forged microcosm of Ibiza, and then next season the nightlife crowd gets bit by the underground bug - queueing a multitude of totally segmented fluorescent fueled raves in places that confuse Google Maps.
There seems to be a lack of cohesion between those fueling the industry leading to an illusion of homogeneity. It feels oftentimes there’s only one event happening at a time and only a handful of artists that get to play.
The absence of music venues and nightclubs and infrastructure for talent from management to bookers is also real. But at the risk of sounding like someone biting off your ear with negativity at the back of a party with half a shawarma in my mouth, there are some good vibes too. A new generation of organisers and artists have come through, and they feel inherently more genuine in their intent to break boundaries, bring people together and organise themselves into a supportive scene.
This was personified at the recent Music Fair, set in the serene Caireane suburbs of Saqqara. Away from the thumping, glass-shaking noise of makeshift boat clubs, the all-day event gathered almost every relevant player in Egypt’s underground and nightlife industry for an opportunity to connect, listen to talks and showcase musicians and visual artists.
We took the opportunity to ask the crowd what they feel Egypt’s scene needs most of. Unsurprisingly, collaboration was the main talking point, whilst overcoming stigmatism towards self expression not far behind. We’re looking forward to more events like this that focus on tackling these pitfalls in order to mature an ever evolving local music industry.