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The Independent Culture
As a student back in Leeds in the early '80s, this little bookworm was privileged to attend the legendary Leeds Fringe Festival. What a party! Liggers and performers outnumbered punters. Having obtained bogus press accreditation, we established ourselves in a box at the Festival's hub, the City Varieties, where nightly we entertained notables like Billy Bragg. Theatre groups, poets, gigs, pig-squealing sax breaks from busker Xero Slingsby: all presided over by the man from the council smiling bravely as his budget haemorrhaged all over the stage.

A quick look at the Events above demonstrates that the Festival spirit lives on in Portsmouth (In A Word season); Galway (the Cirt Festival), Swansea (UK Year of Literature) and "Poetry Capital of Britain", Hudders- field. Looming ever closer is the Hay Festival (26 May to 4 June - watch this space next week).

The Brighton Festival (5-28 May) fields Michael Holroyd on Oscar Wilde, Maureen Duffy and Jonathan Keates discussing Purcell, Geoff Dyer and Louis de Bernires on war, Will Self and Clive Sinclair on themselves, and Jenny Diski and Fay Weldon lambasting therapy.

Some dear old troupers have been playing the festival circuit for yonks. In Portsmouth in the Wedgewood Rooms at 7pm tonight are Roger McGough and Brian Patten - are they joined at the hip, or what?

! For further information: Brighton Festival Box Office: 0273 709709. Hay-on-Wye Box Office: 0497 821299