Transahara, the Most Authentic Desert Psy Trance Festival (Cancelled)

Woman dancing at Transahara festival

It’s safe to say that Transahara offers the most authentic psy trance desert festival experience. Returning May 4-8 it will take place in an undisclosed location in the sand dunes north of Merzouga, Morocco.

Few people get to see the Sahara Desert in their life. Even fewer will attend a psy rave in a dried-up lake amongst towering dunes that are constantly moving and changing.

This psy trance festival is truly for the dedicated, those willing to make it out to the desert in the name of discovery, adventure and trance music. 

Official Transahara Artwork
Official Transahara Artwork

Dance amongst the dunes

The nearby town of Merzouga was known to be an ancient stopping point for traders on the way to Timbuktu. Today, it is a touristic village with hotels and access to desert activities.

From Merzouga, you access Erg Chebbi, a 50km long and 5km wide area of some of Morocco’s highest sand dunes reaching up to 350m of altitude.

Every moment of the day in the desert is unique, starting with mornings of pink and golden hues in the sky followed by warm rays of the sun during the afternoon. As the sun sets beyond the dunes, the night sky opens up and you find yourself star-struck, facing the universe.

In the words of the organizer: “Desert skies are, without a doubt, one of the wonders of the world.”

Psy trance desert tribe 

Dancing amongst the dunes
Dancing amongst the dunes

In psy trance there are undeniable themes of tribal energy, and Transahara recognizes that the festival has always been motivated by the mysticism of the desert and its tribal and magical history.

Organized by Nomadstribe, they have been running the event since 2002. I asked around and it seems between that date and now the festival has ran some years and others not. 

My girlfriend showed me photos of her 2011 Transahara voyage and it looked like quite the experience, lots of room to dance surrounded by the colors of the desert.

What does the lineup look like?

View from the decks
View from the decks

We are particularly excited to see Braincell, Hypogeo, Miss Tick, Morten Granau, Nanoplex and Perfect Stranger on the lineup.

The organizers have of course included acts from Morocco such as Amine K, Kawtar Sadik and Mr. ID.

As for the timings, the organizers said the music will start on Thursday 4th of May at 5PM and will stop on Monday 8th at 9AM. I’d say that sounds just about right!

You can find the full, updated line up on their website.

The journey to Transahara, how to find the psy oasis

An oasis in the desert
An oasis in the desert

Like nomadic travelers, it takes a veritable journey to get there. Transahara recommends landing in Marrakesh and then either driving or getting a car/bus to take you to the dunes. You’re looking at a 7-9 hour ride.

Casablanca is perhaps the airport in the country with the most connections so many will likely arrive there. Then from Casa, prepare yourself for an 8 to 10-hour journey across the country. 

Either way, your trip to the desert must be a dedication.

How much is Transahara going to cost me?

Strange creatures dwell in the dunes
Strange creatures dwell in the dunes

Tickets are already in phase two and festival access if going for 175 Euros. Comparing to other destination psy festivals, they seem quite reasonable, considering the organizers setting up in one of the most surreal places to throw a party in.

You do, however, have to book hotel and tents through the festival site. There are hotels available for 35 euros a night – tents already seem to have sold out. There are more expensive options, but to be fair, some of the hotels out there look quite otherworldly.

Essentials and support

Pack the essentials
Pack the essentials

If you’re heading out to the Transahara festival – or any other desert festival for that matter – then make sure you have the below essentials. These will make your desert dwelling experience more comfortable.

  1. It’s the desert after all so make sure you have that SPF50 sun screen
  2. If there’s anything worse then sand in your asscrack it’s sand in your eyes. Protect your eyes and bring the Mad Max vibe with these goggles
  3. A staple for any raver is the bucket hat
  4. There’s a reason the shemagh is worn in the desert and that’s to protect your face and neck from the elements
  5. Drink that H2O bro with a lightweight hydration backpack

Looking for other psy trance events?

Then we recommend you check out the world’s biggest database of psy trance events.

Transahara Socials

Images Courtesy of Transahara, Windfisk & Nabane Photography

This article includes affiliate links & as Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.

Written by Luc Rouffaud

Luc Rouffaud is the founder of Underground Sound and has six years of experience in the music industry, particularly running a music publication and marketing events.

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