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Music festivals

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival or Jazz Fest
Where: New Orleans, USA
When: Last weekend in April (Fri-Sun) and the first weekend in May (Thurs-Sun)
You can come to New Orleans all year round to celebrate the easy-going rhythms and the colourful culture of the Deep South. But the days of this festival are hard to beat. Top bands belt out blues, R&B, gospel, Cajun, Afro-Caribbean, Latin and everything in between over two weekends.

Festival in the Desert (Festival au Désert)
Where: Essakane, Mali
When: January
This annual world music and Tuareg culture festival features musicians from Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Ethiopia and many other countries. It’s unique for its desert location in an oasis town 65km north of Timbuktu and is modelled on traditional gatherings and celebrations of the Tuareg people.

Saint Louis Jazz Festival
Where: Saint Louis, Senegal
When: Late May
This jazz festival is the most important one in Africa and it fairly oozes charm in this French colonial city. Saint Louis is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is located in the north of the country.

Umbria Jazz
Where: Perugia, Italy
When: Early to Mid July
Umbria Jazz is like the Italian version of the New Orleans festival, which means you get a fantastic combination of a music feast along with some of the world’s best food and wine to boot. Jazz wafts, croons and carouses through the historic town from every café, bar, shop, museum and public space. There are concerts and street bands with sounds of jazz, soul, R&B, blues, gospel, pop or salsa.

Salzburg Festival (Salzburger Festspiele)
Where: Salzburg, Austria
When: Five weeks from late July
The birthplace of Mozart is surely the best place to hold this classical festival’s top quality opera, music and dance. Salzburg itself provides an appealing backdrop with its attractive baroque features.

Byron Bay Blues Fest East Coast Blues and Roots festival
Where: Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
When: Easter weekend
This is Australia’s most prestigious blues festival and the funky coastal town of Byron Bay is a superb location for the local and international acts belting out their jazz, blues or ethnic beats. Surf in the morning and take a musical cruise into the night.

Tamworth Country Music Festival
Where: Tamworth, New South Wales
When: January
Pull out your jeans, boots and Akubra for this two week music festival featuring all the best of Australian country music. It is now counted in the top music events worldwide. The outback town of Tamworth boasts a superb line up of country western singers who vie for Golden Guitar trophies at the awards night ceremony.

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