Events Planner: Music festivals

Where to find jazz and reggae, from the US to France



2-12 September, International Mariachi and Charreria Festival, Guadalajara

The mariachi band is perhaps the ultimate in Mexican clichés. Mexican Indians and mestizos adapted the instruments brought over by the Spanish conquistadors, particularly in the state of Jalisco, where bands playing these part-Indian, part-European instruments became particularly popular.

By the 18th century the mariachi ensemble traditionally consisted of the singer, two vihuelas (adapted guitars) and a single violin player, who played music for dancing.

The mariachi festival celebrates this tradition in its home state of Jalisco, with 10 days of music and dancing in the streets, bars and restaurants of Guadalajara. There are also workshops for budding mariachi bands. In addition to music there will be displays of charreria, a traditional sport involving costumed equestrian demonstrations and competitions.

Further information: 00 52 33 366 81600


18-22 August, Grachtenfestival, Amsterdam

This year's theme is "blue blood", so visitors can expect to hear anything from classical chamber music composed for royal courts and noble families to more modern interpretations on the regal theme. This celebration of classical music incorporates a children's programme, which includes fairy tales set to music, a musical meal with a Mozart theme, lullabies and a children's boat trip along the city's canals. The adult programme will take place in some of Amsterdam's more unusual venues, including historic buildings, museums and even family homes. Admission to many of the concerts is free, while the charge for others ranges from €5 (£3.60) to €22.50 (£16).

Further information: 00 31 20 421 4542;


30 August- 6 September, Burning Man Festival, Black Rock City, Nevada

A desert, naked people and pyrotechnics - this festival has become a sub-cultural institution. It offers a different artistic theme each time; this year's is "Vault of Heaven", with artists exploring the complexity of human existence through music, alternative therapies, dance and unusual goings-on. The musical genres range from jazz and reggae to house and tribal, and the event's focal point will be the Wicker Man-style Burning Man ceremony. Situated in a dry lake bed in the middle of the Nevada desert the festival is no easy ride, so bring plenty of sun screen, gallons of water and comfy sleeping bags. Tickets at a mammoth $225 (£132) are still available online. Further information: 001 415 863 5263;


10-19 September, Jazz en Touraine Festival, Montlouis-sur-Loire

Interpreting jazz in its widest sense, Jazz en Touraine has a different theme each night, from electro and Cuban to blues and bebop. The festival attracts crowds in their thousands, with performances from an international set including Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dianne Reeves, who will be opening this year's festival, the saxophonist Charles Lloyd, and pianist Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne. A fringe festival will take place concurrently, showcasing home-grown talent such as the French Beans Orchestra and the Vienot Swing Band. Concerts are held in the Espace Ligeria. Ticket prices range from €12 (£9) to €25 (£18), and a four-night pass is available for €64 (£46). Further information: 00 33 2 47 50 72 70;


6-11 October, Bermuda Music Festival, Hamilton

The music of Bermuda is particularly diverse, with influences from the Caribbean, Scotland and Ireland (a sizeable proportion of the island's inhabitants are of Scots and Irish origin). Plus, the Bermudian legend Eddie DeMello was born in the Portuguese Azores. This year's festival reflects a broad variety of international artists, ranging from Isaac Hayes to Seal. Venues include the green surrounds of the Royal Naval Dockyard, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel and the Fairmont Southampton Beach Club. Ticket prices range from $50 (£29) to $85 (£50). Further information: 020-8410 8188 (Bermuda Tourism);


27-29 August, Womad Singapore

Peter Gabriel pioneered the Womad concept in 1980 to celebrate a World of Music, Arts and Dance, hence the name. The first festival took place in 1982 in Shepton Mallet and has since expanded to include events in South Africa, Australia, the Czech Republic and the US. The line-up has yet to be announced, but it is certain to feature music from a diverse range of countries. The Reading line-up this year includes Laye Sow from Senegal, Cara Dillon (pictured) and Sharon Shannon from Ireland, a Cameroonian grooves workshop, the Drummers of Burundi, Aziz Ibrahim (the former Stone Roses guitarist) and various dance, music and craft workshops, so expect something along the same lines in Singapore. The festival takes place in downtown Singapore in the Fort Canning Park and ticket prices range from S$24 (£7.60) to S$82 (£26) per day. Family passes are also available. Further information: 00 65 6220 2676;

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