Three major music festivals from the Sahara region join their strengths to start a new initiative: The Cultural Caravan for Peace. Over a period of two months they will travel to refugee camps and festivals to play their music and share their culture. Countries visited are Morocco, Mauretania, Burkina Faso and Mali.

The first edition of the Cultural Caravan for Peace will be held during the Festival Taragalte in M’Hamid El Ghizlane (Morocco) from 15-17 November 2013.

The Caravan of Peace is initiated by Festival Taragalte (M’Hamid, Morocco), the Festival au Désert (Timbuktu, Mali) and the Festival sur le Niger (Segou, Mali) in order to support peace, solidarity and tolerance in the region.

The Caravan takes a serious stand against violence and Islamic radicalism, which are against music and non-Muslims. The extremist threat is a worldwide challenge and the Peace Caravan fights against this influence, communicating through artistic expression and culture, that ‘this has nothing to do with our way of life!’

By re-establishing the tradition of the caravan and the historic practices of the desert lifestyle, we want to establish an opportunity to gather and discuss/describe current issues through culture and art.

Through music, workshops and art exhibitions the Caravan will give the people of the Sahara and Sahel a platform to meet, exchange ideas and keep their cultural heritage alive.

Mohamed Ansar (Festival au Désert) outlined, that “Under this strong sign of the ‘Cultural Caravan for Peace’ we want to express our way of non-violent but effective resistance against intolerance but also to express solidarity with these people in need – refugees in Mali and neighbouring countries”. And Mamou Daffé (Festival sur le Niger) added: “We believe that art and culture bring people together and they get inspiration from each other to contribute to the balance of the society.” Ibrahim Sbai (taragalte Festival): “The role played by the caravan in the old days was not only economical, but more significally a cultural one. These caravans meant that different cultures were in contact and were able to connect with each other; exchanges passed through families, music, poetry art and lifestyles. These activities brought people closer to each other.”

During the festival in Morocco several workshops and artists’ exchange programmes are initiated. The workshops are facilitated by Butterfly Works.

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