MOGA Festival Co-Founder Matthieu Corosine Shares Thoughts on the Nomadic Nature of the Event
MOGA Essaouira, Morocco
MOGA was born in 2016 in Essaouira, Morocco. The port city, formerly known as Mogador, sits on the Atlantic coast in the Marrakech-Safi region of the North African country. After a three-year hiatus, MOGA soon makes a welcome return from September 28th to October 2nd, 2022.
Offering five days of dance, music, food, and discoveries in the heart of the pearl of the Atlantic, MOGA shines for many reasons. And it’s the lineup— including names like John Talabot, Francesco Del Garda, Parallells, Polo & Pan, Acid Arab, Sébastien Léger, CC:DISCO!, and DJ Python— is just one reason to visit the unique festival by the sea.
It all goes down at SOFITEL Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa with a panoramic swimming pool surrounded by a garden of olive trees.
We spoke to co-founder Matthieu Corosine about what continues to inspire him to curate the festival, how he finds inspiration in the local scene, and his favorite MOGA memory.
How are you? What’s good and bad in your world?
Excited, happy, and a bit tired after the summer season. 2022 is a blessing as we get to do what we love most, throwing parties all around the world.
Tell us what you do with Moga day-to-day.
I’m the producer of the event, along with my friend and 11-year partner in crime, Benoit Geli. Currently, I send emails and make calls all day long to prepare for the next event with the team of 30 people working on MOGA Essaouira. On a yearly basis, my job is to develop and organize the future of the festival, prospecting new locations, doing public relations, dealing with authorities, discovering new artists and collectives, etc.
How important is it to link with local artists and performers, and how do you do that?
We have to spend a lot of nights out checking out parties. It is always very important to identify the “makers” of the music scene wherever we organize MOGA. Before even creating MOGA back in 2016, we spent so much time getting to know how to do what, with who and where. It’s crucial to give a genuine identity to the festival with the right people. Booking local artists and collectives is also really helpful to draw a crowd and gain their trust. At the same time, we offer a platform for local artists to share their music. It’s a win-win type of process.
What about local promoter teams and production staff? Are you keen to really integrate?
Of course and always! First, for a very simple reason. It would be too expensive (and make no sense) to fly our production team to different countries. And most importantly, there are incredibly skilled, experienced, and cool people working locally everywhere we go. It brings positive energy to the project to work with a local production team. But the funny part is that our teams in Portugal and Morocco now travel to both countries back and forth, and it creates an amazing synergy.
Tell us about the nomadic vibe and why that is the Moga way?
Essaouira, the city where the festival was originally created, is a place known for being a historical crossroad between Africa and Europe and very important in the Hippie movement in the 60-70s. Its geographical location attracts people from all over the world who stay for weeks, months, and sometimes years. That nomadic vibe can also be found in Caparica (near Lisbon, where the festival is also based), which is kind of the capital for digital nomads in Europe. [It’s] also located along the Atlantic shores, offering nature, surf, wellness, and culture.
What about that appeals to you in this modern world? Is it a link to the past?
Something that I learned with time doing this job is partying is as important as eating, drinking, [and] breathing. It is absolutely vital for human beings to gather around drinks and music to unwind from their daily troubles and worries. And this has been going on since humans were living on planet earth. It is a pride and honor, almost like a mission, to be able to keep this going in our modern times and watch people enjoy our events together.
MOGA Caparica, Portugal
You have different editions of the festival. Tell us how they vary but stay consistent in terms of music and vibe.
As the music may vary, one thing remains at the center of the project, the experience. For that reason, we never try to get in the race for the biggest acts and names for our lineups. We want the vibe to be cool, fresh, original, and made of high-quality artists, newcomers, and OGs that can make people dance all night long. We book friends, friends of friends, and artists who heard about the project and want to be part of it. We send Portuguese DJs to Morocco and Moroccan DJs to Portugal. We try to keep it simple and positive when it comes to programming.
MOGA Essaouira, Morocco
What are you most looking forward to about the festival?
It’s been almost three years since we last came to Morocco. What I’m looking forward to the most is reuniting with our Moroccan family and seeing all the smiles on people’s faces to be back again partying in Essaouira. But personally, my favorite moment is the last track of the weekend, when everyone gets home safe, and that team enjoys the result of a great weekend of partying.
What are you most proud of having achieved with Moga?
I am very proud of the tribe we created throughout the years, whether it’s people working or enjoying it. Moga is a real tribe with a unique family-like feeling that gathers inside and outside Moga editions.
What are the standout memories over the years so far?
There are so many I lost count. But I remember the closing set from Acid Pauli in 2018, when he played a song that made the crowd cry as people entered into some kind of connection and started hugging each other in tears of joy. People were letting go, all together. It still gives me chills to this day to think about it.