Considered by many as best Mali festival, the Festival au désert (“Festival in the Desert”) is an annual concert in Timbuktu, Mali. Showcasing traditional Tuareg music as well as music from around the world. The first Festival took place in Tin Essako in 2001 and then it moved in 2002 to Tessalit in the Kidal region (North-Eastern Mali).
Tinariwen first garnered international attention with their performance at the 2001 Festival.
Festival au desert has been well documented and influenced in the pop and music culture. Several documentary films have been made about the Festival including The Last Song Before the War and Woodstock in Timbuktu. Other documentary films are in production. The documentary Dambé: The Mali Project tells the story of a cross-cultural musical adventure over 3000 miles by two Irish musicians, that features performances from the Festival au désert.
This is a must experience festival. However, the Festival has continued to be postponed due to security concerns in the region.
Audience at the Festival au Desert, Timbuktu, Mali
You should check out: The Best Festival in Malawi (Lake of Stars Music Festival)