Matthieu Corosine is one of the main crew behind some of Africa and France’s most exciting electronic music festivals: Les Plages (Cannes), MOGA (Morocco) and Les Dunes (Tunisia).

Working at Panda Events, the team behind each festival, he is a man with extensive experience in events and someone well versed in what it takes to run a successful event.

We caught up with him recently as he talked us through his day-to-day role at Panda — and much more besides.

How did you get into what you do now? Why become a promoter and not a DJ?

Growing up in Martinique (a tiny island in the Caribbean), i had no idea i would end up producing events all around the world with Ben Geli, my partner in crime who created Panda Events 15 years ago. I studied Communication & Marketing in Nice and Lyon then graduated in Rock Hill, South Carolina, ended up working at a gas station in Martinique before having my first experience in the south of France as a volunteer.

I’ve always been fascinated by the creative process between having an idea and making thousands of people adhere to it, travel for it, party to it… I find being a promoter is challenging because you have to compose with a team and partners, find money to make it happen, be careful of every single details, anticipate the natural elements (we had 3 days of rain in the desert once…). At the end of the day, DJ and promoters are almost the same thing except i dont have an hospitality rider and crazy fans waiting for me in my office when we produce an event !

What was the first event you did? How did it go?

The first event was actually in Martinique, for Martizik Festival. It was in 2011, I had just joined Panda Events for the first time in an event. Beautiful location, giant beach party, pristine water, sunny and hot, lots of rhum elec-tropical vibe… First day was close to perfection even with the little troubles we had to deal with before hand. On the second day of the festival, a violent thunderstorm tore our stage into pieces and we had to cancel. we did that festival for 4 other editions then we ended up turning it into a caribbean cruise in 7 islands for 7 days…

What are the key things to get right at any party do you think?

Beside a good line up and a good sound system (obviously), i think you need to treat your festival goers right, shortest queue as possible at the entrance, bar and bathroom but it is also important to create some kind of atmosphere or vibe that people will talk about after they leave the festival. So i’d say the most important thing is the positive imprint you leave in the mind of your people (and your team as well!), that will make them want to come back for the next edition with new friends.

What do you know now you wish you had known when you started out?

It would take too long to list it out but one thing for sure, even after 10 or 20 or 30 years in this job, the key is to learn everyday from success and failure.

How important is it to get locals involved, both musically and with logistics? Does cultural sensitivity matter?

I think it is one of the most important things.

Whenever you go to a foreign country to produce an event, the very basic is to give back everything that the country that welcomed you. Everywhere, there are tons of talents and energy that will help you take an event to another level. For example, in Morrocco, for MOGA festival, our friend and partner DAOX (and incredibly talented DJ), was a major asset for the success of the event. he helped us understand the culture, the trends and market in order to make the festival relevant in a country that we barely knew.

The cultural sensitivity is essential as every country is different. I believe culture is a mix of history, politics, customs, and humanity. The singularity of each territory is so strong that you cannot produce the same event with the same ingredients in Tunisia or Morrocco even though in the rest of the world, people would tend to think they are pretty similar. I guess it only works if you are open-minded, curious and willing to embrace new cultures and mindsets.

Tell us about Les Plages, Les Dunes and Moga – which came first? What lead you to to start the second and then third ones?

Les Plages was founded in 2006. At that time, it was 5 parties in the summer, 5 euros to get in, 5 styles of electronic music, one stage on the beach by the Palais des Festivals. The concept soon became very popular and with the support of the city we made it evolve throughout the year until today when it is a 50 000 people festival, with 5 stages, different styles of electronic music, all in one weekend of august. It is actually one of the largest festival in the south of France and proud member of BeachFest, the European Federation of Beach Festivals (along with Balaton, Somnii, DreamBeach, Palmesus, Sea You, etc).

As we are based in the south of France where the activity is very seasonnal (between may and september), we’ve always been thirsty for new adventures the rest of the year. Les Dunes arrived in 2014 after Patrick El Ouarghi and Philippe Chapelet, founders of Hi Hotel, Hi Matic and Hi beach (where we made crazy parties on the beach in Nice for 6 years) proposed us to visit their latest project : Dar Hi an eco lodge located in Nefta, in an oasis, 20 min drive from the Star Wars movie decors. We immediately had the pitch “at first sight” : A rave in the Star Wars movie set, in the middle of the Tunisian desert.

Later on our friend Ahmed El Zoghlami who had the Morroccan office of tourism as a client, called us one day and told us : guys, I am in Essaouira and guess what, the entire city is the decors of Game of Thrones, season 3 ! Another pitch “at first sight”… As soon as we visited the city, we were amazed by its vibe and potential. Lots of culture, hippie influence (Jimmy Hendricks used to live there for years), perfect touristic infrastructure, beautiful beaches, crazy fish market… We knew we were going to do an amazing festival there. Our friends from Sunset (cray formula one beach party in Monaco) Cedric and Thom joined the adventure with us and we have ideas about developping the concept with “sister cities” of Essaouira.

How different are they musically and is that the biggest difference between them?

For example, Tunisia, where we produce Les Dunes Electroniques, was one of the capitals of electronic music in the world for a very long time so people there were educated with crazy line ups in a lot of clubs of Hammamet or Sousse until the revolution. You can ask almost any party people from Tunis the top 100 of Resident Advisor for the ongoing year, they ll recite it to you by heart !

In Morrocco, the transe and psy-transe movement was the very beginning of the electronic music. The scene has really bloomed a few years ago under the influence of DJ’s such as Daox or Amine K.

What different challenges do each one present?

Being relevant and attractive is the true challenge to every event we produce. For these 3 festivals, we work hard to make them more than just an event, create and provide new experiences, innovations, new approaches of music and lifestyle.

There is also the fact that all events take place in the middle of the natural elements. We try to keep in mind that not only we have to limit our impact on the environment and find new alternatives, but we are also the bearer of this message to all the people who attend of events.

Can you give us some recommendations for each locations such as what are the must-see and must-do’s, things to eat and where, places to drink at, etc?

Sure!

Cannes, France :

– Spend the day at Les Iles de Lerins (beautiful islands, 15 min by boat)
– Have a walk on la Croisette during the International Film Festival
– Go to La Croix des Gardes, a 200-acre wide public space of trails and hikes, which culminate in a giant cross at the highest point
– Have dinner in Le Suquet (Cannes’ old town)

Nefta, Tunisia :

– Ride a camel in the desert
– Visit the Chott El Djerid which is one of the biggest salt lake in the world
– Drink tea with the Bedouins
– visit the Oasis of Nefta (waterfalls, lake, hot springs)
– dance with the Stambalis (traditional dancers)

Essaouira, Morrocco

– You can’t visit Essaouira without buying your fish fresh from the fishermen and bring it to grill at a local shop !
– Try kite surfing in Sidi Kaouki, one of the best spots in Morrocco
– Ride a horse on the beach for sunset
– learn how to play Guembri with a Maalem at the Medina
– Have a coffee at Jimi Hendricks cafe

What tips have you got for anyone going to these festivals?

Book your tickets early and find accommodations asap, first come first served!

MOGA Festival takes place 11, 12, 13 October in Morocco. For more info click HERE.

Les Dunes takes places 16-17 November in Morocco. For more info click HERE.

For more on Les Plages, click HERE.