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Maqam El Chahid, Riadh El Feth|© Henry Marion/Flickr
Maqam El Chahid, Riadh El Feth|© Henry Marion/Flickr
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The 5 Best Festivals In Algiers

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Updated: 12 January 2017
Stretched out next to the open Mediterranean Sea, the African city of Algiers is often described as “Algiers the White” for the predominant color of its buildings that dominates its appearance when seen from afar. As the largest city, with more than 3.5 million inhabitants, the capital of Algeria acts as the epicenter for cultural activities, playing host to music festivals, comic exhibitions, and awards. Below is a list of the top five festivals in Algiers.

European Cultural Festival

With the slogan ‘Colors of Europe’ in May 2015, the 16th European Cultural Festival was embraced in Algeria. Concerts, art and photography exhibitions, theater, dance performances and movie screenings take place every year in a feast of multiculturalism and diversification. This two-week event attracts artists from various countries, while activities are held all over the country from Algier to Constantine and from Tlemcen to Oran.

The International Festival of Comics

In 2009 the theme of this festival was ‘Algiers, Balloons Bay’; in 2011 it was ‘Algiers, Bubbles Without Borders’ and in 2015 the theme was named ‘Tell Me In Bubbles’. Each year the theme of The International Festival of Comics, Esplanade Riadh El Feth in French, is a new source of inspiration for artists participating in the event. Established in Algiers in 2008, by the Ministry of Culture, FIBDA focuses on the comic book industry and brings together hundreds of artists and professionals from the UK and Spain to Mali, Congo Russia, Korea and much more. The program includes exhibitions, conference panel discussions, film screenings and an awards ceremony where the best African comic artists are honored for their creative work.

2010 International Festival of Comics | © Magharebia/Flickr
2010 International Festival of Comics | © Magharebia/Flickr

Algiers International Film Festival

The Algiers International Film Festival is an international film event, suitable for film enthusiasts. Taking place every December, selected documentaries and fiction films are featured for one week in Algiers in an event that unites independent movie producers from all over the world. The Film Festival is organised by the À nous les écrans, the ‘Screens for us all’ association, and each year screenings takes place in El Mouggar Theater, and the Cinematheque of Algiers, broadcasting about 20 movies in total.

International Festival of Contemporary Art

Every year the International Festival of Contemporary Art (FIAC) opens its doors in a two-month feast of contemporary art. The event is part of the periodic events of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMA) in Algiers trying to promote contemporary art production in the African capital while questioning and analyzing its conditions and aesthetics. In 2015, 16 artists from nine different countries brought their work to the MAMA where the theme of materialization of suffering and memory was explored.

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International Diwan Music Festival of Algiers

During the spring the National Cultural Festival of Diwan Music takes place in Bechar. The winners travel during the autumn season to the International Diwan Music Festival of Algiers (Festival International De Musique Diwane) to share the stage with international bands from Morocco, France, the United States, Cameroon and Mali. The festival, inaugurated in 2007 in an attempt to preserve and celebrate the ritual Diwane music: a genre born in Algeria following the arrival in North Africa of the first waves of black slaves brought in by slave trading caravans. The festival takes place at the Said-Merkel open-air theater located in the impressive Riadh El Fath cultural quarter.