By Fanny Ohier
Hundreds showed up to the Rawabet Theatre for two days of electronic music over the weekend. For the seventh time, the 100LIVE festival gathered a large and varied crowd at the theatre in Downtown Cairo. The festival organised by 100COPIES music label showcased artists from within as well as outside Egypt.
Mahmoud Refaat, the creator of both the electronic music festival and music label, explained that he decided to hold the festival after launching 100COPIES. “The label was started in 2006, doing experimental music releases, producing experimental musicians and electronic musicians. One year later in 2007, we started the festival.”
The concerts were seen as a continuation of introducing new talents to the Egyptian audience. “The idea was to promote musicians through production and also through live concerts and to put this kind of music on stage for the local Egyptian audience too,” Refaat explained.
On the first day, Egyptian electronic groups Cellar Door, Zuli, El Madfa3geya and others from abroad such as Kode9, and Brutuzz were invited to perform. Then, on Friday, Raymond M began the night with his electronics music, which grew in intensity as the night progressed. He left the stage to the Alexandrian band Telepoetic, a trio who warmed up the audience with its contagious psychedelic rock. Composed of Mohamed Desouky on bass, Ahmed Saleh on guitar, electronics and keyboard, and Samo on drums, the band animated the public with a remarkably strong acoustic sound backed by electronics.
Following Telepotic, electro shaabi musician Islam Chipsy stirred the crowds and ignited the atmosphere. He took the stage with crazy synth playing, which encouraged most of the audience to dance in rhythm. The tempo did not slow down with the last concert. Neobyrd, the stage name of Egyptian electronic musician Wael Alaa, continued to move the crowds until the end of the night.
Since the creation of the 100LIVE festival, its programme alternated between different styles of music. “It is mainly about alternative music,” said Mahmoud Refaat. “Each year has some kind of theme. This year, the idea of the programme was all about [popular underground] performances which have nothing to do with the mainstream or music economy, [groups which] spread very easily among audience.”
On inviting musicians from other countries, Mahmoud Refaat said: “Including bands from London, like Kode9, they are more or less from the old underground scene,” Refaat said.
“The audience was very mixed in general,” the 100LIVE festival organiser said, pointing at the wide crowd exiting the concert hall.