The Festival au désert (Festival in the Desert) is an annual three day concert held on the outskirts of Timbuktu, Mali, west Africa. It is the most remote festival in the world and in 2012 takes place from January 12-14.

It has its origins in the annual meetings held by the nomadic Touaregs (often referred to as ‘the blue people’ because of the stains their indigo-dyed robes leave on their skin) to reconnect with each other after the nomadic season, have fun, resolve conflicts, and to exchange ideas.

The modern day festival is a mix of traditional north African desert music, international musicians, camel racing, dance and sword play.

The Festival is also a way to celebrate “La Flamme de la Paix” (The Flame of Peace), a name that was given to the ceremony where more than 3000 firearms were melted and used to create a monument in 1996 in Timbuktu.