Beat Hotel Marrakech is just over a fortnight away and so it’s now definitely time to start getting excited about the festival’s line-up of music, talks and workshops. If you haven’t heard of it already, Beat Hotel Marrakech is a festival set within a 27-acre boutique resort on the outskirts of the Moroccan city, with its ethos and programme taking after The Beat Hotel stage, a regular fixture at Glastonbury Festival since 2011. The programme runs between 19 and 22 March, from midday until 4 AM, starting with an opening concert on Thursday 19, and is as focused on talks and workshops as it is on music and food – and this year is no different.
One workshop we’re particularly looking forward to is Mindful Marbling, which is going to be run by Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham, AKA the pattern design duo Patternity. It’s a workshop the pair has designed specifically for the festival and will see participants marbling onto Moroccan tiles that they can then take home with them. According to Anna, there’s a strong link between Patternity’s work and this form of meditation. “Since Patternity started, our message has always very much been closely linked with wellbeing,” she says. “We use pattern to encourage people to slow down, be more mindful and notice the beautiful patterns and connections – both visual and non-visual – that surround us.”
They have always drawn a lot of inspiration from nature and natural forms, and they see pattern as something that connects us to larger cosmic forces. “Whether you look through a telescope or a microscope,” says Grace, “life is really made of fundamental forms and shapes that repeat and repeat – it’s a wonderful and curious thing.” While this philosophy started as something more implicit when they started their practice, it has since become more explicit, running through the duo’s creative projects, books and events around sustainability and nature.
The workshop promises to be a welcome balm to our hectic and hyper-connected lives, what Grace describes as the “age of disconnect” we’re living through. “In our increasingly digitised lives, there is something so powerful about switching off our devices and making something with our hands,” says Anna. “Our workshops have been designed to help everyone (whether they would call themselves ‘creative’ or not) to go on a joyful journey that can help them to reconnect back to themselves and create a beautiful creative expression of their experience.”
If you do consider yourself more of a creative type, then there will be some takeaways for you specifically as well. In the 11 years since they launched Patternity, Anna and Grace have collaborated with scientists as well as artists and musicians in order to learn about “flow states”, when a person loses themselves in an activity and loses any sense of time. These elusive states are not only good for mental wellbeing but can also be incredibly fruitful in a creative sense.
The Patternity workshop is typical of this year’s thoughtful and considered programme at Beat Hotel Marrakech, which also features talks by artists Jeremy Deller, Camille Walala and Hassan Hajjaj; a sleep retreat; a load of film screenings by both Moroccan and foreign directors; and a Q&A and listening session with XL Records founder, Richard Russell. And that’s not even to mention the music line-up, which includes international artists and producers such as Floating Points, Young Marco, Kate Tempest and Gilles Peterson, as well as local legend Moulay Ahmed El Hassani. The full line-up can be found here.
We’ve teamed up with Beat Hotel Marrakech this year as a media partner, and will be on the ground there to host a discussion between Camille and Hassan focused on the importance of colour and brightness in their work. Click here to find out more about that session, as well as the whole programme, and to book your tickets. And we’ll see you there in two weeks’ time!