Created in Jannuary 2001, the "festival au désert" is held every year in Essakane, two hours from Timbouctou in Mali.
This Festival seeks its origin in the big traditional Touareg festivities, as Takoubelt in Kidal and Temakannit in Tombouctou, which represented for long time a place for decision making and exchange of information among the different communities. At the beginning, there were songs and touareg dances, poetries, camel rides, games, etc.
Today, the Festival is opened to the external world and welcomes artists from other Malian regions, other African countries, but also from Europe and from the whole world.
During three days, around 30 artistic groups are invited from all around the world to present their art.
Due to the attention of the media and to the huge logistic effort that it is mobilizing, the Festival is now included among the Big Modern Festivals, though it maintains its traditional cultural aspects.
The festival will last 3 days. Every day will be divided in two main parts: traditional happenings and the music festival.
Traditional happenings will undergo during daylight since the morning. There will be camel rides, "tindés" (traditional women songs), expositions, conferences, games...
On the contrary, lights and music (concerts and animation) will start just before the sunset.
The artistic programming is being defined.