Arts Festivals in Britain, 1993: The season of arts festivals is upon us, with the Glasgow Mayfest first off the blocks on Friday. Adrian Turpin offers an A to Z guide for visitors and, below, lists the best of the fests

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A is for amateur festivals: 350 and counting . . . the backbone of the nation's arts or its soft underbelly.

B is for business venture. Like the Henley Festival, initially devised so the caterers could cash in after the Royal Regatta. It still has more mentions of food in its publicity than any other festival . . . .

C is for competitions, favoured by film festivals, continentals and the Welsh. Also good for pulling the punters in, as at Portsmouth, where the public is invited to identify seven local landmarks in paintings. The prize? 'A city-wide three-month provincial bus pass (value pounds 50).'

D is for dispute over the Reading Festival. Vince Power, who until last year ran Reading, says he's bought the land on which it's staged and will run it this year. New organisers, NJF Marquee, disagree. Meanwhile, Power (who runs seven clubs in London) has organised 'The Phoenix', an alternative Reading, in May. An adult version of: 'It's my ball and I'll play with it where I like'?

E is for ecology. An evergreen festival issue, from Brighton (wade through mountains of paper about 'Echoes and Ecology') to Glastonbury (which thousands will drive to in order to visit the wind-powered stage).

F is for Fringe. In his last year as director of the main Edinburgh Festival, Frank Dunlop called the Fringe the 'Tower of Babel', 'third-rate circus' and 'Blackpool South Beach'.

G is for golden oldies returning. Norman Wisdom plays Bridlington.

H is for Hype. Competition drives PRs to reckless superlatives. For example: 'For six memorable days every July, the little town of Llangollen . . . becomes the cultural centre of the world.' A prize for the first festival to begin its brochure with the words: 'This year's festival is the smallest and worst yet . . .'

I is for international. Used by larger festivals, denotes a wish to compete with Salzburg, Vienna, Avignon etc. Used by smaller festivals, means one of the performers is half-Belgian.

J is for 'Junk Sculpture with Noel Perkins' at Calstock: 'Prepare for this workshop with a course in skip diving. Rubbish on its way to the tip can be repossessed and reworked into the raw material of 'Les Beaux Artes' ' (see also Z).

K is for King's Singers. Sorry, you can't avoid them this year (see U).

L is for locals. Complaints are traditional and began early this year when residents at Stowe, Northamptonshire, raised pounds 10,000 to stop a Christian arts festival.

M is for lots of money. In 1991 festivals had an income of over pounds 30m, with pounds 17.6m coming from box-office receipts, pounds 6.8m from sponsorship, and pounds 7m from local authorities. Despite the large sums involved, a report for the Office of Arts and Libraries last year said more than half of 527 arts festivals made a loss in 1991.

N is for new light. In which Robert Hardy appears at Ludlow, talking on 'Ancient Weaponry'.

O is for one-man (or one-woman) shows. They come in three types: experimental, celebrity and Shakespearian. Avoid any that combine two or more of these elements.

P is for premieres. Delayed at Bridgnorth, where four Haydn pieces see light of day for the first time.

Q for accommodation, loos, returns, interval drinks, ice creams . . . everything really.

R is for resignation of artistic directors. Often a case of incompatible demands of art and money. Jane Glover resigned as artistic director at Buxton earlier this year because the board felt her plans were too financially risky; Nash Ensemble founder Amelia Freedman left Bath as the festival came under city council control. 'I don't want to see any more strings of classical concerts under one theme,' said the leisure and tourism director.

S is for sexy name. As in 'the Rickmansworth Canal Festival'.

T is for themes. A double-edged sword for organisers: critics can't live with them and can't live without them. Often their connection to the events is tangential. This year's most highbrow theme goes to Cardiff for 'A Danger to the State' (as in Plato's Republic: 'musical innovation is a danger to the state').

U is for ubiquity. Last year you couldn't enter a town with a population over 37 without bumping into Simon Rattle. This year the George Melly Award for Getting Around goes to Evelyn Glennie. Honourable mentions: Peter Donohoe, the King's Singers.

V is for value for money. Not like it used to be. At 1992's Edinburgh Fringe Arthur Smith Sings Andy Williams cost 50 pence with a pound back for anyone who'd leave. At Brighton it will cost you a fiver.

W is for workshops. Prompted Alexei Sayle to joke: 'Anyone who uses the word workshop outside the context of light industry is a prat.' A hypothesis to test on this year's croquet, origami and kite-flying workshops.

X is for Xenakis (see also Z).

Y is for youth. A concert by violinist David Garrett begins the Brighton festival. Aged 12.

Z is for Xenakis spelt wrongly; also for the word 'zany' - last resort of burnt-out critics faced with 'junk sculpture'.

APRIL & MAY

GLASGOW Mayfest (30 Apr-22 May) If you want to be pedantic, the 1993 festival season began with the Dagenham and Barking festival on 16 January; Glasgow, however, kicks off the main event . . . This year's Mayfest takes place at 14 venues throughout the city, including, again, aboard the old Renfrew Ferry moored on the Clyde. Theatre: Cheek by Jowl, Citizens' (The Marowitz Hamlet, Old Rose), Tron Theatre / Dundee Rep (Macbeth), Volcano and the Israeli company Tmu-Na. Music: from the St Petersburg Philharmonic, Smith Quartet, Salif Keita. Comedy: Mark Little, Jo Brand, Steve Coogan and John Thomson, Julian Clary, John Shuttleworth, Mark Thomas, and Glasgow's own Bruce Morton. Ticket Centre, Candleriggs, Glasgow, G1 1NQ (041-227 5511)

BEVERLEY Early Music (6-9 May) Bijoux festival headlined by the Gabrieli Consort and Players in Purcell's The Fairy Queen at the medieval minster. Information Centre, The Guildhall, Register Square, Beverley HU17 9AU (0482 867430).

BRIGHTON Arts (7-30 May) Britain's second largest arts festival. This year's theme: 'Echoes and Ecology'. Includes the Almeida production of Chatsky, Berkoff's Salome and Footsbarn's Romeo and Juliet; a premiere from the Siobhan Davies Dance Company; and the UK debut of the Moscow Chamber Opera; plus the Brodsky Quartet with Elvis Costello, Victoria de los Angeles, and, in the opening concert, the British debut of the 12-year-old virtuoso violinist David Garrett. 111 Church St, Brighton BN1 1UD (0273 676926).

Laughing Gas comedy festival runs concurrently, and features Ben Miller's tribute to John Noakes Gone with Noakes, Arthur Smith and Tony Hawkes sing Andy Williams, Trevor and Simon, and John Shuttleworth. Information on 0273 625544 / 674357.

NEWBURY Arts (8-22 May) Music includes the London Mozart Players, Evelyn Glennie, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, 'Best of British Jazz' (with Kenny Baker, Don Lusher and Maxine Daniels), and the King's Singers. If that's not enough there's always George Melly on Surrealism . . . Booking Office, Suite 3, Town Hall, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5AA (0635 49919 / 48774).

SHEFFIELD Chamber Music (8-22 May) This year's focus: the tradition of English composition. The Sheffield-based Lindsay Quartet host the event. Box Office, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield S1 1DA (0742 769922).

CHELMSFORD Cathedral (13-22 May) Percussion workshop with Evelyn Glennie; the Allegri Quartet play Schubert and Beethoven; the King's Singers. Civic Theatre, Fairfield Road, Chelmsford (0245 495028).

BURY ST EDMUNDS (13-29 May) Musically conservative festival set in one of Suffolk's prettiest towns. Tasmin Little plays Brahms' Violin Concerto; the City of London Sinfonia performs Brahms' Requiem; plus cellist Steven Isserlis with Melvyn Tan; Steven Kovacevich; Kenny Ball and Don Lusher. Plus the new Manor House Museum, which shows how artists have depicted Suffolk. Festival Office (0284 757097).

PORTSMOUTH (14-31 May) Held in May for the first time, a lively festival with a young outlook. Music from Ultravox, Jools Holland, Inspiral Carpets, Pop Will Eat Itself, the Nighthawks. Comedy from Steve Coogan, Trevor and Simon, Rik Mayall . . . Box Office, Guildhall, Portsmouth, P01 2AD (0705 824355).

LONDON Covent Garden (17-31 May) An ambitious new festival trying to turn Covent Garden into an artistic oasis within the capital. The emphasis is on opera, with the Magic Flute conducted by Jane Glover in Freemasons' Hall and Trial by Jury in Bow Street Magistrate's Court. Plus the Gabrieli Consort, National Opera Studio, Opera Circus and the Natural Theatre Company. (Information line 0839 600600)

BATH Arts May (21 May-6 Jun) A Norse invasion marks the 150th anniversary of Grieg's birth, and there's also a focus on Schumann (20 works including his rarely heard Requiem). Premieres include At Close of Day by Mark-Anthony Turnage. Also the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic, London Mozart Players, Borodin Quartet, Andras Schiff, Alfred Brendel and Evelyn Glennie. Self-conscious wackiness is served up (quite literally) by the Association for Research into the Folklore of the Imagination collective from Lyon, performance artists who employ a master chef de cuisine to cook for the audience. (Box- office 0225 463362).

MALVERN (22 May-6 Jun) Eight new works, including a piano concerto from Matthew Taylor, are promised, as Malvern sets out to prove it's not just a 'museum piece'. The Goldberg Ensemble, Vanbrugh Quartet and BBC Welsh SO feature ; plus the Almeida's production of Chatsky. (Box-office 0684 892277).

HAY-ON-WYE (28 May-6 Jun) A small town with a lot of bookshops hosting a big literary festival. Dirk Bogarde, Colin Dexter, Alan Ayckbourn, Robin Day, Derek Walcott, Edna O'Brien (on the Odysseus myth from Homer to Joyce), Joanna Trollope, Maya Angelou, and Lynda La Plante and Dennis Potter on writing for TV. John Pilger gives the Raymond Williams lecture on the future of broadcasting. Box-office on 0497 821299 or send an A5 sae to the Festival Office, Hay-on- Wye, HR3 5BX.

JUNE

LONDON Lufthansa Baroque Music (1-30 Jun) One of the best period music festivals. This year: Musica Antiqua Praha, Combattimento, Ensemble Sonnerie. Plus Monteverdi's L'Orfeo on 2 July to mark the 350th anniversary of his death. St James' Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1V 9FL (071-434 4003).

BRIDGNORTH Haydn (2-5 Jun) A new festival, beautifully set on the banks of the Severn, concentrates on the work of Haydn (there's enough of it; even before the four newly discovered Haydn works premiered here). Haydn scholar H C Robbins Landon lectures; plus Jack Brymer, Crispian Steele-Perkins and Andrew Wilde. Festival Office, 1 St Leonard's Close, Bridgnorth, Shropshire WV16 4EL (0746 766194)

LONDON Greenwich (4-13 Jun) Eclectic, often off- beat event. This year's theme is 'Time and Place', and sees the reopening of the Greenwich Royal Observatory. 151 Powis Street, London SE18 6JL (081-316 5009)

BOURNEMOUTH Arts (5-20 Jun) The vaguest of themes, 'The Seven Ages of Man', allows Bournemouth to cast its net wide with attention paid to the town's history. There is also a series of debates on the subject of 'Science versus Arts'. Music includes Evelyn Glennie, Humphrey Lyttelton, the Bournemouth Orchestra (100 this year). International Centre, Exeter Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 5BH (0202 297297).

LONDON Spitalfields (9-30 Jun) Tavener, Monteverdi, and Britten's Christian opera The Rape of Lucretia in the atmospheric setting of Hawksmoor's finest surviving church. Christ Church, Commercial Street, London E1 6LY (071-377 0823)

NOTTINGHAM International Crime and Mystery (10- 20 Jun) The third year of this interesting genre-based film festival. Four British premieres of thrillers include The Assassin, the Hollywood remake of Luc Besson's Nikita. Guests due to appear include Quentin Tarantino (introducing a screening of Reservoir Dogs), thriller writer Sara Paretsky, and campaigning barrister Helena Kennedy. There's also a season of light-hearted crime films, with a new print of The Ladykillers, a Harvey Keitel retrospective and a season of films featuring femmes fatales. Details from Broadway Media Centre, Broad Street, Nottingham (0602 526600 / 526611)

READING Womad (11-13 Jun) Massive celebration of 'world music' (0734 591591)

ALDEBURGH (11-27 Jun) Set on and around Britten's home turf, with the famous acoustics of Snape Maltings, the beautiful Suffolk countryside and some of the country's best fish and chips. Britten's own rarely seen Owen Wingrave (concert performances 12, 27 June). Featured composer (for the second time in nine years) is Toru Takemitsu. Plus Julian Bream, the Borodin Quartet and the Stockholm Chamber Orchestra. Box-office, High St, Aldeburgh, Suffolk IP15 5AX (0728 453543)

LONDON Fleadh (12 Jun) Massive open-air celebration of Gaelic music in Finsbury Park. A strong line-up is headed by (a not terribly Gaelic) Bob Dylan; other acts include Van Morrison, Hothouse Flowers, Runrig, the Pogues, Kirsty McColl, Capercaillie and the Men They Couldn't Hang. Accompanied children under 12 admitted free. Information on 081-963 0797.

BRADFORD (18 Jun-4 Jul) Community festival, packed with colourful events celebrating Bradford's multi-cultural nature. Classical music, folk, jazz, film, plus loads of community events, street theatre, and the regular Asian fair, the mela. Information: 0274 309199

THAXTED Music (18 June-11 July) Small but elegant festival in the village where Gustav Holst lived on the Essex / Suffolk border: Peter Donohoe, the Chilingirian Quartet, Hanover Band, I Fagiolini, Pascal Roge and Hungarian dance music. (Box-office 0371 830350).

LONDON International Festival of Theatre (13 Jun-12 Jul) (071-379 8009)

ORKNEY St Magnus (18-23 Jun) Britain's most northerly festival with a healthy dollop of music from its president, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. c/o Dorothy Rushbrook, 'Strandal', Nicholson Street, Kirkwall, Orkney KW15 1BD (0856 872669).

GLASTONBURY (25-27 Jun) Spectacular sun-worshippers' festival. The best bands and sound-systems, plus all the alternative culture you can stomach. Tickets pounds 58 from Ticket Unit, PO Box 903, Bristol BS99 5ND. Information: 0839 668899.

LUDLOW (26 Jun-11 Jul) Opera, jazz, events for children, and an open-air Othello at Ludlow's Norman Castle. Box-office, Castle Sq, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 1AY (0584 872150).

WARWICK (30 Jun-11 Jul) A Russian theme, tied to the centenary of Tchaikovsky's death: visitors include the Moscow String Quartet, Rita Hunter, Raphael Wallfisch and the Bekova Piano Trio. Box-office, Northgate. Warwick CV34 4JL (0926 496277)

JULY

GRIMSBY South Bank Jazz (2-4 July) Seventeen bands include Chris Barber and Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. Grimsby Tourist Information, Alexandra Dock, Grimsby DN31 1UF (0472 357333)

EXETER (2-18 Jul) Concerts in the Cathedral include the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields and the Goldberg Ensemble; a series of chamber music in country churches features the Vanbrugh Quartet at Crediton; Lesley Garrett appears in an Opera Gala Concert and in a Last Night of the Proms-style closing concert. Box-office on 0392 265118.

CHELTENHAM International Festival of Music (3-18 Jul) One of the best festivals for modern British composers, with works by 33 of them, including premieres from Nigel Osborne and Simon Bainbridge, among others. Focuses on the music of Michael Berkeley (including the first performance of his opera Baa, Baa Black Sheep) and his father Lennox. Also: Opera North, Nash Ensemble, Pascal Roge. Cheltenham Town Hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1QA (0242 521621 / 523690)

CHICHESTER Festivities (4-20 Jul) London Mozart Players, Young Musician of the Year Finalists, Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Chelsea Opera Group, P D James. Chichester Festivities, Canon Gate House, South St, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1PU (0243 785718).

LONDON City of London (4-21 Jul) Music - not pioneering, but well-presented and entertaining. The Sixteen perform Tchaikovsky, Tallis, Tavener, and new works by Francis Grier and Geoffrey Burgon; plus the Bach Ensemble and European Community Chamber Orchestra. Also open-air jazz, lunchtime concerts from the Consort of Musicke, and (rebuilding work permitting) the Natural Theatre Company in the Broadgate area. City Arts Trust, Bishopsgate Hall, 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH (071-377 0540)

LLANGOLLEN Eisteddfod (6-11 Jul) A chance to hear your favourite music sung in Welsh, whatever it was written in. Ballet du Nord start the ball rolling and there's a rare pre-Proms performance of Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet from the BBC Philharmonic and Huddersfield Choral Society. Eisteddfod Office, Llangollen, Clywd LL20 8NG (0978 860236).

HENLEY (7-10 July) Scarcely has the Henley Royal Regatta finished than the Henley festival takes over the site. A few big names (Julian Lloyd Webber, Cleo Laine and Johnnie Dankworth). Box-office, Festival Yard, 42 Bell St, Henley, RG9 2BG (0491 411353).

LICHFIELD (9-18 Jul) Musically lively festival commemorates two disparate events - the centenary of Tchaikovsky's death, and the 350th anniversary of Cromwell's siege of Lichfield (for which Thea Musgrave has written a new work). Artists include Nikolai Demidenko, BBC SO, John Lill, Hilliard Ensemble. Festival Office, 7 The Close, Lichfield, Staffs WS13 7LD (0543 257298).

YORK Early Music (9-18 Jul) This year looks towards Europe with music from Eastern Europe and Holland. The Consort of Musicke returns and the Tallis Singers make their festival debut. PO Box 226, York, Y03 6ZU (0904 658338).

BUXTON Opera (14 Jul-1 Aug) With Jane Glover's resignation as artistic director, Jonathan Miller is acting as 'artistic adviser'. Highlights include his productions of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, premiered in March at Opera de Monte Carlo, and Cimarosa's The Secret of Marriage. Box-office, Opera House, Water St, Buxton SK17 6XN (0298 72190)

LONDON BBC Henry Wood Proms (16 Jul-11 Sep) The longest and largest festival of music in the world: 67 concerts in 55 days. Full programme in the 'BBC Proms Guide', available at bookshops and newsagents for pounds 3 from 4 May.

KING'S LYNN (17-31 July) A balancing act that seeks to provide musical events of national interest and serve the needs of a part of the country still off the beaten track for the main touring orchestras. Includes a premiere of a Barrington Pheloung sextet and a piece by Nicola LeFanu for story-teller and mixed European and Indian instruments. (Box-office 0553 773578).

LONG MARSTON Phoenix (16-18 Jul) From the same people who brought you the Fleadh, a three-day rock event on a disused airfield outside Stratford-upon- Avon. Plenty of big names: Billy Bragg, Gil Scott- Heron, Sonic Youth, Black Crowes, Faith No More, Violent Femmes, Jamiroquai, Dinosaur Jnr, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy . . . Radio 1's golden oldie, John Peel, is the main compere. Plus fun fair, open-air cinema, and the Jongleurs comedy big top. On-site camping available. Tickets pounds 49. Information: 081- 963 0797.

CHESTER (23-31 Jul) Wilfred Owen's Cheshire connections celebrated in a performance of Britten's War Requiem. BBC Philharmonic, pianist Tatiana Nikolaeva, Northern Sinfonia, BBC Scottish SO. Festival Office, 8 Abbey Square, Chester CH1 2HU (0224 320722).

DARTINGTON International Summer School (24 Jul- 28 Aug) Well-established residential summer school that combines masterclasses, workshops and concerts from the highest calibre of musicians. Evening concerts are open to the public. Dartington International Summer School, The Gallery, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6DE (0803 868108).

HARROGATE (29 Jul-12 Aug) The Halle (conducted by Kent Nagano) kick off the 28th Harrogate Festival. Also featured: Claudio Abbado and the exciting Mahler Orchestra; I Virtuosi di Roma. Ballet du Nord makes its debut at the festival; featured composer is John Tavener. Festival Office, Royal Baths, Harrogate, N Yorkshire HG1 2RR (0423 521264).

CAMBRIDGE Folk (30-31 Jul) Britain's top folk festival. Acts already booked include the Dubliners, Loudon Wainwright III, John Mayall and Michelle Shocked. Box-office, PO Box 385, Cambridge, CB2 3QT. Information: 0223 463346.

LAKE DISTRICT (31 Jul-14 Aug) Summer school and concerts based at Ambleside. Small-scale but offers some fine chamber music. Greenhill, 72 Greenhill, Wirksworth, Derbyshire DE4 4EH (0629 823733).

AUGUST

EDINBURGH (15 Aug-4 Sept) Theatre: last year, in his first festival, Brian McMaster scheduled retrospectives of plays by Harley Granville-Barker and C P Taylor. This year sees a change of tack - no concentration on individual writers, instead a series of major productions by acclaimed directors. Peter Sellars takes on Aeschylus' The Persians, Robert Wilson tackles Gertrude Stein's Dr Faustus Light the Lights, while Peter Stein directs Julius Caesar. Music includes a series of concerts bringing together Schubert and Janacek, and a Verdi retrospective - Falstaff (also directed by Peter Stein) and Scottish Opera's production of I due foscari. Canadian theatre director Robert Lepage turns his attention to opera with productions of Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle and Schoenberg's Erwartung. Dance: the Mark Morris Company return with new work after their hugely successful appearances last year. Two major exhibitions on Scottish variety and on the first century of photography. International Festival, 21 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1BW (031-225 5756).

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Last year's fringe had over 10,000 events. Some top-class theatre, but above all the fringe has become Britain's top gathering of comic talent: the place to discover just who's going to be on Have I Got News for You, Saturday Zoo or next year's equivalent. 180 High Street, EH1 1QS (031-226 5257).

Edinburgh Book Festival High-profile biennial literary festival. Big names, big fun. Scottish Book Centre, 137 Dundee Street, Edinburgh EH11 1BG (031-228 5444).

DONINGTON Monsters of Rock (21 Aug tbc) Britain's loudest Heavy Metal festival. Details to be announced

WORCESTER Three Choirs (21-28 Aug) At 266, the oldest festival in Europe, shared between Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester. Festival Secretary, c /o 10a College Green, Worcester WR1 2LH (0905 616211).

VALE OF GLAMORGAN (24-30 Aug) Last year the Vale stopped catering so much for hardline musos, and turned towards the general public. This year the festival concentrates on American Minimalist music - Steve Reich and John Adams - as well as Michael Nyman. Performers include Piano Circus, Peter Donohoe, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra. Box Office, St Donat's Arts Centre (0446 794848).

ARUNDEL (27 Aug-5 Sep) The festival opens with a fireworks concert given by the Band of the Grenadier Guards, and is followed the next day by tenor Robert Tear conducting the Siegfied Idyll with the London Mozart players. Also City of London Sinfonia, the Brodsky Quartet, lunchtime concerts by young performers in some of the villages around Arundel. The Oxford Stage Company's A Comedy of Errors. Festival diary out on 1 June from Festival Society, The Mary Gate, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9AT (0903 883690)

DARTINGTON Literature (30 Aug-6 Sept) The 'Ways with Words' festival, held at Dartington Hall, offers either individual events or, for pounds 110, you can stay. It's particularly strong on leading women writers: Ruth Rendell, Penelope Lively, Barbara Trapido, Mary Wesley, Michele Roberts. Men include Michael Carson (Sucking Sherbert Lemons). Plus talks and workshops on short-story writing, horror, comedy, writing for television and newspapers. Details from Kay Dunbar, Droridge Farm, Droridge, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6JQ (0803 867311).

SEPTEMBER

SALISBURY (4-18 Sep) Howard Goodall premieres his musical version of Silas Marner at the Wilton Church, with Omar Ebrahim, who played the title role in BBC 2's The Vampyre. Also Yuri Simonov and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia with Richard Hickox and the ubiquitous King's Singers. The King's House, 65 The Close, Salisbury (0722 323883).

CARDIFF Music (17 Sep-9 Oct) Theme, 'A Danger to the State': Shostakovitch's Leningrad Symphony, Beethoven's Ninth, the Welsh National Opera (Falstaff, Lucia di Lammermoor, Eugene Onegin). Cardiff Festival, St David's Hall, Hayes, Cardiff, Wales (0222 342611)

NORTH WALES Music (19-25 Sep) Tchaikovsky season, morning recitals, closing concert with work of William Mathias. Festival Office, High Street, St Asaph, Clwyd LL17 ORD (0745 584508).

SWANSEA (27 Sep-6 Nov) The (Pennington-less) English Shakespeare Company with Romeo and Juliet, the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, Welsh National Opera (see Cardiff), London City Ballet, London Mozart Players. Tourist Information Centre, Singleton St, Swansea SA1 3QG (0792 468321).

OCTOBER

CANTERBURY (5-23 Oct) Dangerous Liaisons: for once a festival theme that is reflected in the content. The RSC are in town with their revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, but most of the other liaisons are between man and the devil, a series of variations on the Faust myth by Marlowe, Berlioz, Britten (The Prodigal Son, from Kent Opera), Stravinsky (The Soldier's Tale). Festival Office, 59 Ivy Lane, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1TU (0227 452853).

NORFOLK & NORWICH (7-17 Oct) Theme, 'Curtain Up' - the raising of the Iron Curtain. Many works by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov; composers in residence are Dmitri Smirnov and Elena Firsova (Cello Concerto premiered by Steven Isserlis). Plus a week of Glyndebourne Touring Opera, and the Brodsky Quartet with Elvis Costello, a William Blake exhibition, film, stand-up comedy and street theatre. Festival Ticket Shop, The Guildhall, Gaol Hill, Norwich NR2 3LA (0603 764764)

BATH Mozartfest (6-13 Nov) A week of Mozart at Bath Abbey, the Guildhall, Assembly Rooms and Forum. Yehudi Menuhin sets the ball rolling. For information send SAE to Bath Mozartfest, c/o The Marketing Office, 14 Buckingham Street, London WC2N 6DF.

CHELTENHAM Daily Telegraph Literature (8-17 Oct) The largest and best literary festival. The main theme is 'North American Writing', and distinguished visitors include Joseph Heller, William Styron, E L Doctorow, Michael Ondaatje, Kurt Vonnegut and Elmore Leonard. Subsidiary themes include 'Diaries' (with John Lahr on Orton, Peter Hall and the former trade minister Alan Clark), 'Reputations' (Colin Dexter and Andrew Motion on Morse and Larkin respectively), and 'Sequels by Another Hand'. There's also a semi-autonomous literary festival for children. Highly recommended. Town hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucesterhire GL50 1QA (0242 521621 /523690).

NOVEMBER

BELFAST at Queen's 7-27 Nov. Ulster's leading festival which generally attracts a wealth of musical and theatrical talent. Festival Booking Office, 25 College Gardens, Belfast BT9 6BS (0232 665577 / 666321)

HUDDERSFIELD Contemporary Music (18-28 Nov) Critically acclaimed and popular festival (last year it attracted more than 15,000 visitors) focuses on the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti and American minimalist John Adams. The Kronos Quartet return for the first time since 1991, and Berio and Xenakis will also be appearing. Department of Music, The Polytechnic, Huddersfield HD1 3DH (0484 425082).

(Photograph omitted)

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