The eighth annual Festival in the Desert (Festival au Desert) took place in Essakane, Mali, on January 10-12, 2008. I made it late the first day, stayed the second day, and had to leave really really early the morning of the last day. So, I missed my most anticipated musician playing at the festival: Tiken Jah Fakoly. I got to experience lots of really good music though.
One apparently traditional event at the festival is camel racing. At the same time, with a bunch of jostling in the crowd, a ceremony of women took place, perhaps a form of “dressage” to show off their finery for potential spouses.