The annual Festival in the Desert will take place in Essakane, Mali from Jan. 6th to 8th. The event will welcome artists from other African nations such as Niger and Mauritania, as well as from Europe and the rest of the world.

The artists will perform among the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert and about 30 groups are expected to perform during the three-day event, which is now recognized as one of the biggest and most popular cultural events in Mali.

The Festival in the Desert was first launched back in 2001 and its roots can be traced to the traditional Touareg festivals which used to provide an ideal outlet for a variety of desert tribes and communities to perform and show off their traditions and culture.

During the daytime visitors will be treated to traditional women’s songs known as tindés. In addition, there will be dancing performances as well as camel races and swordplay exhibitions. The live music will then take over just before the sun sets for the night.

Many visitors stay overnight at the site in Tuareg tents or by sleeping on ground mats. You won’t go hungry as hot African meals are cooked on the site. When packing for the trip, be aware that daytime temperatures in the desert can reach about 95°F, but can drop down to about 40°F at night, so dress appropriately and take a sleeping bag.

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