We meet up with Mahmoud Zidan, the man behind the notorious Theater of Dreams festivals that have been shaking up the partying scene in Egypt, to talk inspirations, challenges, and the one time he tried to DJ...
Theater of Dreams shook up Ras Shitan with their first event, spun Space Sharm into a frenzy with their second, and this August the Sahel coastline was rocked by their third incarnation; a 12-hour, all-out beach shebang. The series of events have been making their mark on the partying scene, tapping incredible DJs to take the musical reins and amassing a legion of fans along the way. But who is the man behind these notorious events? 19-year-old Mahmoud Zidan. So we meet with one of the youngest, most prolific party organisers Egypt has ever encountered, to find out a little more...
How long ago did you get started in the industry and how?
I started about two years ago. At the time I was throwing some private events and gigs at O Bar, Up 2 Dance, which featured Gawdat and Aguizi & Fahim. The real start, however, was in January 2015 with the Theater of Dreams Festival.
Why did you start throwing parties in Egypt? What was your inspiration?
I was listening to a lot of popular and commercial dance music or trance, but it wasn’t until I attended my first Nacelle event that changed everything. The way I see the electronic music scene is forever completely changed because of that; my mind was blown.
What are some of the challenges you meet when organising a party?
My biggest challenge was being a new on the scene and young; 19-year-old and trying to organise a festival that merges the vibe of the bohemian lifestyle you would experience in Ras Shitan with Nacelle-style clubbing into a three day experience. When I first called up the DJs, I was worried they’d refuse to come out to play, because I was a new unknown promoter, but thankfully Marc Wahba vouched for me and they were an awesome three days.
Is it everything you imagined it would be? Or were you surprised to find out what the job actually entails?
So far, it’s been all I expected and then some. It’s hard work sure, but yeah, it’s super exciting to see Theater of Dreams grow - I can’t believe we pulled off three festivals in just eight months!
What is your favourite kind of DJ to work with?
My favourite kinds are the ones who are so passionate about their music and performance that they can get the whole crowd to feel that energy; they get up on the decks and all you can feel is them exhuming this contagious positive energy.
What are your hobbies aside from throwing parties?
I'm a big football fan, and I love traveling to see and experience other cultures that are unknown to me. Oh and going to see my favourite DJs of course!
Where do you see your brand in 5 years? What do you hope to accomplish with it?
Five years, that’s quite a long time haha! Well, next summer I will work with the 303Lovers label to throw a Theater Of Dreams event at Eden Ibiza with some international and local DJs.
I hope to see four or five of our local DJs go international and see a bigger focus on music production.
Tell us one of the funniest or weirdest situations you were in while working?
I tried to DJ once…it was a disaster!
Do you have any tips or advice for up and coming organisers?
Be humble, take it step by step, and push local talent!
You can find out more about Theatre of Dreams on their Facebook page here.