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Don't let anyone tell you that country music isn't happening - because it is happening tonight with Don Williams. The US country star is kicking off 19 dates to celebrate his 25th anniversary of touring.

Opens at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast today and ends on the 19th at the London Palladium

Something to get classical music buffs frothing at the mouth is the world premiere of Thomas Ades's `Asyla'. It will be conducted by Sir Simon Rattle featuring mezzo-soprano Birgit Remmert and the City of Birmingham Youth Chorus.

Birmingham Symphony Hall to 4 Oct

Or dabble in a city which has established itself as one of the funkiest around. Merseyside's annual visual and design festival, Visionfest, begins today. It features artists from across Europe who will contribute to visual extravaganzas at over 30 venues.

To 31 Oct (0151-708 9887)

And for just old-fashioned anarchy, face the music with The Levellers and Alabama 3. The Levellers are known as a festival band spurring joyous moshing in the mud to an agit-prop mix of Irish folk and thrashing rock. Alabama 3 are a Brixton based band who claim they met in rehab. Which could explain why they are described as "Acid Country House". The Forum, London NW5, 7pm, pounds 12.

And there is a chance to meet the man who has done much to bring poetry to life - Mr John Hegley (above).With his "best friend" Nigel, at his side you can be sure that there will be some intimate jokes being shared.

BAC, London SW11, 9.45pm, pounds 6/9.

Jennifer Rodger

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