To those of you who believe deserts are potential blank-canvases-turned-playgrounds rather than barren wastelands, The Sherp has got some really really good news for you.
Here are a few of the most glorious and colourful celebrations of art, music and culture that take place in some of the driest places on Earth.
Where: Sahara Desert, Morocco
‘A Dunes Odyssey’ is what Transahara identifies itself by. Held right in the middle of the harsh, yet undeniably beautiful Sahara Desert in Morocco. This fest usually includes an amazing yet minimal lineup of trance, techno and house in unison with art, culture. With just 1000 people at the fest, you can expect an intimate and spell binding time.
Where: Black Rock City, Nevada Desert, USA
Every year, against the backdrop of the beautiful Black Rock Desert in Nevada comes alive a festival that speaks to every aspect of the human psyche through its mind-blowing music and art installations. Thousands of people and enthusiasts come together to create Black Rock City – an ethereal place with a destitute setting that focuses solely on art, self-expression and community. And while the festival or gathering might seem like the most appealing event to attend, Burning Man is not exactly what you’d call ‘easy to survive’. For one, it’s out in the desert, devoid of any internet or cellular service. Temperatures can hit 95 degrees during the day and it is a gathering based on self reliance – which means you will have to carry everything you need for a week to survive eg – food, water, shelter, clothes, transport, cars etc.
Where: Karoo Desert, South Africa
Similar to its mother festival, AfrikaBurn adheres to the ten principles of Burning Man like – Leave no trace, philosophy, self-expression, self-reliance, and communal effort. The event has been running from 2007 and aims to be “radically inclusive and accessible to anyone”.
Simply put, the festival is participant oriented that experiments with community building, creativity and self reliance among the citizens of Tankwa Town in Karoo once a year.
“Nothing is for sale but ice at the event. Nothing. There are no vendors, no advertising or branding. It just doesn’t fit in. It’s not even a barter economy – it’s a de-commodified zone with a gift economy that’s about giving without expecting anything in return.”
Where: Near Zaragoza, north-eastern Spain
When: July 7 to 12
As the main European Burning Man- inspired event, Nowhere embraces and celebrates all aspects of Burning Man in the extreme conditions and harsh beauty of northern Spain. However, unlike Burning Man, Nowhere doesn’t include fire as a key feature of the event as open fires are strictly forbidden by the municipality of the area. This is because every summer many areas of Spain, including the Nowhere area, are on wildfire alert. If you’re the experimental kind, Nowhere will undoubtedly give you an experience of a lifetime.
5. Pushkar Hot Air Balloon & Camel Fair
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan, India
This annual camel and livestock trading fair is the largest of its kind in the world. Besides serving business purpose, the five-day affair is also known to be a showcase of the state’s impressive culture. Traditional folk performances, competitions and races make it one of the most exciting events for tourists heading to the state. The scenic ghats that line the Pushkar witnesses thousands of pilgrims flocking to the place for a holy dip in the water.
With a number of majestic forts and palaces dotting its terrain, Rajasthan provides an excellent landscape to balloon over. At this one-of-a-kind festival, you can explore the beauty of the Pushkar from high up in the sky even as you enjoy a luxurious ride. The flight will give a spectacular view of the scenic lake which is enveloped by beautiful ghats, as well as the nearby Aravalli range.
6.Desert Festival Of Jaisalmer
Where: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India
The festival is a window to the beautiful, vibrant culture of Rajasthan. Every year, it attracts the state’s best performers – from snake charmers and puppeteers to dancers and acrobats – to this desert town. There are several other delightful events at the festival that will thoroughly entertain you – turban-tying, moustache-flaunting among some of them.
7.Festival Of The Sahara
Where: Douz, Tunisia
The International Festival of the Sahara is an annual festival held in Douz, Tunisia, which originally began as a camel fair when Tunisia was under French Rule. Dedicated to making people aware of the nomadic culture and traditions of Tunisian people, Th Festival of Sahara hosts Camel marathons, fantasia– galloping Arab horses ridden by daring riders, a Bedouin marriage, sloughi desert hunting dogs – catching rabbits are the principal features. In the evening, groups from visiting countries perform songs and dances. The central event is the poetry contest run by the desert poet, Abdellatif Belgacem.The festival has become an important media and touristic event followed by cameramen and journalists from all over the world.