Australia, Sydney, and Mali

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As we head into the peak festival season in Australia there’s loads of great festivals to choose from. The Falls Festival began in ‘93 when a surfer decided to ramp up the New Years eve celebrations and its grown ever since. This year it takes place over three days from December 29th at two locations - Marion Bay on Tasmania as well as the original town of Lorne. Artists on the bill include Franz Ferdinand, Lykke Li,  Fleet Foxes Santogold, Australia’s Violent Soho and Augie March.

The Pyramid Rock Festival also takes place over New Years eve at a stunning location on Philip Island just off the coast of Victoria. So kick out 2008 and welcome 2009 to the tunes of The Panics, Morcheeba, Cut Copy, The Black Keys, Little Red and Yves Klein Blue

The Sydney Festival begins January 10th and goes til the end of the month to include Australia Day celebrations. It’s the biggest event of its kind, attracting over 1 million people to its 50 events that range from theatre to dance to art to music. All Tomorrows Parties will make their Aussie debut with Nick Cave curating; other artists at Sydney Festival include Grace Jones – her first show in Australia in 20 years, Mr Scruff, Metronomy, Bon Iver and The Cinematic Orchestra.

And finally to Africa for The Festival Au Desert. It takes place in January and is located in an area of the Sahara desert called Essakane, two hours from Timbuktu.  Artists for 2009 include Desert Blue, Vieux Farka toure with the grande finale by Tinariwen – they performed at the first Festival Au Desert in 2001 and have gone on to tour the world finding fans wherever they play.