Egypt is one of the biggest countries in the Middle East that is artistically vibrant and capable of exporting a wide spectrum of art that spans across the different disciplines of music, film, theatre etc. However, it is very hard (not impossible though) for independent Egyptian artists to get the chance to travel to festivals and present their art abroad. The reason is that the funding opportunities of traveling or touring are very few if not entirely absent. The few funding opportunities are very competitive, since the independent music scene is relatively big, therefore all bands knock on all almost the same doors and this is resulting in a huge level of frustration.
The independent music scene has been rapidly growing since 2001 and it is miraculous how artists /bands tend to survive amidst tough circumstances due to three main reasons: one being the lack of state funding for the independent musicians, so the majority have to take other jobs to be able to survive and support their bands and the other reason is the scarcity of venues to perform, there literally do not exceed 15 spaces in total and are located mainly in Cairo. There is a big problem of centralization, where 95% of the opportunities are only present in Cairo so musicians across the country have no chances to be seen or heard unless they move to the capital or in very few cases to Alexandria as it is considered the second capital.
However, it is not as dark as it seems, there is a scene in Egypt that is able to survive through the private sector support (corporate sponsorship/events), civil society organizations with their financial resources that are reliant on international funding and grants, but it is certainly not enough to support a scene and in very few/specific cases independent bands are invited to perform in state owned venues/events, but usually ticket sales or fees offered are not enough for sustainability. Therefore, to list a basic example, an album production requires very hard work between planning for/working on it in parallel with fundraising for production and finding the channel (venue) to perform live.
On the other hand, inviting independent foreign/international bands to perform in Egypt is not an easy process as well, where the same reason of lacking financial resources on the side of bookers, promoters, festival programmers is hindering the process of presenting as many foreign/international musicians in a country with the weight of Egypt. Not only the lack of finances, but also the red tape and difficulty in obtaining specific permissions for live performance and coordinating with the tax authority. In spite of all the challenges, Egypt is hosting a number of successful international festivals and relatively large to medium scale events that are mainly managed and organized by independent companies/curators/programmers, who mainly get the support of foreign cultural bodies including cultural centers and embassies to present support artists from their countries/cultures to perform in Egypt. If not at the level of independent companies, the other way is through corporate sponsored private events, who are not really concerned with independent artists as much as they are for famous ones to create a buzz around their events. No matter how difficult, challenging and tiring these processes are, it is worthwhile and successful as it facilitates the presentation of new music in Egypt.