New music festival sounds a very flat note

My efforts to raise the profile of the Alchemy at Zahar Festival have backfired as I am now told the event was cancelled a few days before it was due to take place. The story sounds rather messy; reports are circulating that this is the second cancellation, that the required government permit may not have been in place, and that plans to run a four day festival in the Moroccan Sahara in 40 degrees plus temperatures may have been somewhat optimistic. There are reports of a reincarnation in Marrakech but, understandably, those that bought tickets and travelled to M’Hamid El Ghizlane last weekend are not happy – particularly the fan who travelled from Brazil. My thanks go to Frank Rynne, producer of the 'other' Master Musicians of Joujouka - who were not appearing at the festival – for updating me on the lack of alchemy at Zahar. Things are never straightforward in Morocco, and I was going to end by saying that next time I’ll go with the flow and stick to posting BBC press releases: but then I remembered that in 1980 twenty BBC Proms were cancelled, also amid much acrimony.

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