The scenic Lake Malawi serves as the perfect backdrop to the Lake of Stars Festival.

Whereas the Bushfire draws religious fervency, the Mawazine Festival is often a center of controversy. First launched in 2001, Mawazine is one of the most important Moroccan festivals, held in Rabat, Morocco. It is also one of the largest international music festivals, with more than 2 million people drawn to the world- class entertainment. Although it has been applauded for promoting Moroccan culture, diversity, and tolerance, the event is repeatedly the center of controversy because of some of the more risqué musical acts that appear. Wardrobe malfunc- tions, controversial lyrics, or any other potentially inappropriate onstage behav- iors are viewed as inconsistent with the morality restrictions in the country. Critics have also pointed to security and safety concerns, with specific reference to the 2009 festival when a stampede, which killed 11 people, occurred among spectators leaving one of the venues. The spectacular beauty of Africa is also on display during the Lake of Stars Festival, which attracts 4,000 attendees to Lake Malawi, one of the largest lakes in Africa. First celebrated in 2004, this is an annual international three-day event with a central focus on music and culture. It was first established by Will Jameson to promote tourism, under the influence of the internationally acclaimed festivals World of Music, Arts, and Dance (WOMAD) and Glastonbury. Set against such a scenic backdrop (it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world), the festival is a great opportunity for volunteering and collaboration, which expands beyond the festival organizational structure and into the community with activities at orphanages and also through a series of events in Europe and Africa. The Lake of the Stars Festival features an eclectic mix of drama, inspiring talks, and interna- tional music performances. Beyond the obvious economic and cultural incentives for launching the festival, it’s a great way to shed light on Malawi art while en- couraging an international exchange of artistic expression.



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