We joined the movement: Whale Festival | Review

Hello again Mafters, I hope the ending of summer wasn't as hard as you thought it would be.

Your friendly magazine Maft is here to bring you the latest in fashion, art and culture to keep your days fulfilled with the newest brands and news.

On Friday the 17th of September 2021, yours truly along with my editors packed our bags and headed to the famed Carthage Land amusement park at the Medina Mediterranea in Hammamet to attend the 3 day art and culture movement that is Whale Festival in its first edition ever! For your eyes only to read the whole scoop.

First let’s introduce you to the Whale movement. It's much more than a festival. It's a multidisciplinary movement of art and culture bringing together more than 124 artists from music, fashion, graffiti, digital art and content creators with the ultimate goal of uniting the new Tunisian creative scene of artists and designers turned towards the future of this new generation.

A first of its kind in Tunisia, an epic hybrid festival. 

This first edition is  a part of the dynamic of reinventing society through ART and CULTURE, led by Art Culture Studio (ACS), the new culture startup based in Bhar Lazreg, who’s been committed to giving creative voices a field of expression and exchange with innovative and technological collaborative solutions alongside the support of two major players in art and culture in the region, the DROSOS FOUNDATION and Tfanen-Tunis Creative who demonstrated their desire to strengthen the place of creative economies in a society in eternal boiling of creativity and innovation.

A 3-day program with itineraries between pop-up stores, talks, exhibitions, electro scene, rap and hip-hop scene. A festival open to ideas, debates and the transmission of experiences with talks open to the public with the participation of personalities from the world of culture, fashion, music and entrepreneurship. It was an opportunity to find leading artists live and online and a demented selection of young artists and DJs to discover.

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A music festival is a celebration of music, art, culture and for people to come together to partake in a shared experience and the Whale Festival was no exception. Over the course of three days, fans saw their favorite Rappers and DJs, enjoyed the Pop Up stores and digital art on display, and expressed their personality through fashion.

Now let me walk you through my experience as a Maft writer sent into this territory to bring you all the fun and fashion moments  of the event. Come relive with me the experience.

Each day started with a walk around the beautiful Medina inside Carthage Land where I kept bumping into Whale goers observing, discovering, and artists checking in and getting their rooms and rest while tribe members (staff) running around from place to place getting everything ready for the big performances and making sure everything went smoothly.

A drink by the outside pool is what helps to observe the crowds floating by enjoying a cold swim and a cocktail to escape the heat while electro music blares in the background to soothe the mood. A great set of 31 DJ’s were invited to play during the day to entertain us as well as a session after the rap/hip hop performances ended like a trippy after party, all hosted by the lovely beautiful duo made of Cerine Hlel and Khaoula Barnat. I enjoyed a few sets from these great DJ’s Boti, Briki, DA CHE, Hearthug and Hamdy Ryder who eased the whole experience with their flaming beats and psychedelic visuals. A unique trip with each DJ.

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Photo credit: Mohamed Taher Hadded

As the heat decreased in the late afternoon, It was time to admire the Graffiti work that was being created live. Artists such as Kenya GOa, Ta Rek, Gatone Gatone Gatone, Yassin Dino, Ilyess Souihi were involved, and  were working on new pieces each day to create a masterpiece surrounding the stage. 

Not forgetting to mention my visit the gallery exhibition that featured 12 illustrators and graphic artists including Cherif Troudi, Diggy and Zden Artwork

Let’s talk fashion now!

A Fashion corner was built right before the performance area by Minassa as a Pop-Up Store area with over 10 brands present to showcase their clothes and products including Fichier Caché, Boauna, Chebeb Id, Clay Of Gaia, Eddisco, Filupo, Flap Studio, Glibett, Indinya and Jinn.

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Shots by Eya Rziga

Each brand’s corner had its unique identity and decorations as each one showed creativity, friendliness and enthusiasm towards everyone who came their way.

It was a very well built area and the decorations played a major aesthetic for picture taking and setting a certain mood of beauty and creativity. A cosy resting area was also set up for us to stay and admire the products and interact with the designers as well.

We’ve seen appearances from Photographer Yesmine Abed, Model Rym Hammami, Designer Hamza Selmi of Banjer Lab and even Nesrine Makhlouf of Made in Ifriqiya who came for the fashion roundtable alongside Actress Azza Slimane too. Everyone was on their most fashionable self even the audience as well amazed me with their diverse styles, from streetwear to hip hop, from simplicity to boho chic. With girls we saw the most diversity in clothing items from colorful crop tops, baggy shirts and high waisted jeans,shorts and accessories whereas with most boys wore T Shirts from their favourite brands as I saw a lot of merch from Fichier Caché, Chebeb ID and even Lyoumm. They went for the punk and hip hop look.

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Photo credit: Amine Landoulsi

The performances were electrifying. I stood in the front row with my camera ready to capture everything and it was really magical. The charisma, the attitude and passion that performers were letting out were beyond my expectations, the whole energy and presence made me fall in love with these artists even more and with the genre itself. I couldn't take my eyes and ears off during the performances of a few artists that I enjoyed like KTYB, 4lfa, Stou, Curstx, Dopeman, Koast, Jazzo, Baya and others like Uchiha, Rare Enissay and Dhalma. Each performer had his/her own style, vibe and stage presence yet all together they made an amazing combination on that stage that unified them and made them shine brighter.

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Photo credit: Amine Landoulsi

We witnessed legendary duos, performances and unreleased tracks. Collaborations that happened at night when rappers were put under one roof to share their love for music.

We had also witnessed a tribute for a fallen rapper Cheb Terro  who had died earlier this year which was a beautiful moment. We've enjoyed the shows of Baya, Jazzo and Koast that were not going to be the same without the amazing dance performances we witnessed along their shows. Dancers like Kasee Dii, Wael Ben Ali ,Hyba Byoussef, Chayma Saoudy, Chayma Rhawlia, Śamii Hamamii and Samti brothers definetly got the stage on fire with their break dancing skills.

By the end of the festival and weekend, I had seen some amazing performances, discovered talented new artists, found my way into hanging out with two of the artists that performed and stayed secretly at the hotel twice to witness the full potential of the psychedelic trip that I experienced at the EDM sets by the pool.

I have also gained the friendships of other photographers and artists who highlight the potential of my generation that I am so proud of.  

But of course, every event in its first edition goes through technical and organisational issues, which was exactly the case with The Whale festival. There was for sure a lack of  communication and unclearness concerning the timeline, directions and misunderstanding with the hotel management and access to the different parts of the event.

We hope to see improvements in the next edition (hopefully there is one) and we will keep supporting these initiatives from the bottom of our hearts.

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