The Sahara Desert is the most unsuspecting spot for a music festival of this magnitude, but The Festival in the Desert continues to draw crowds to Timbuktu every year. Despite travel warnings, folks come out to hear music from West African, Tuareg, and Malian musicians, as well as big-name western acts such as Jimmy Buffet and Robert Plant. The Essakane Film , (trailer above) is about the battle to keep the festival going. This Thursday, Nov. 17, there will be a fundraiser and cocktail party for the film at The Player’s Club in Gramercy Park in NYC from 7:30-11:00pm. You don’t want to miss performances by Essakane Film stars, the renowned Tuareg poet-guitarists Tinariwen, and American musicians JeConte and Leni Stern, as well as sneak peek footage from the film. Manny Ansar, the director of the Festival in the Desert, will also be flying in from Mali to attend. For more info click here. Purchase discounted tickets here.