Events Planner: Music Festivals

Where to go to see (and hear) the world. By Sophie Lam
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The Independent Travel

DENMARK

Vinter Jazz, 29 January - 8 February

Denmark's Vinter Jazz Festival is warming up with around 120 concerts across the country, featuring everything from traditional jazz to modern electronica. Most acts are Scandinavian but Brazilian singer and pianist Tania Maria will also perform. Tickets from venues in advance or on the door. For more information contact the Danish Tourist Board on 020-7259 5959 or the Danish Jazz Federation on 00 45 3345 4300, or visit www.vinterjazz.dk.

INDIA

Desert Festival, 4 - 6 February

Once a year the desolate Thar desert around the walled city of Jaisalmer hosts the Desert Festival. Performers in vivid costumes dance to high-pitched folk music against the dramatic desert backdrop. There's also a turban-tying competition, snake-charming and camel races. Call the Indian Tourist Board for more information on 020-7437 3677 or see www.rajasthan-travelguide.com.

USA

Budweiser Lowcountry Blues Bash, 6 - 15 February

The Blues Bash celebrates authentic Blues music in the American Deep South. The 10-day event takes place in smaller venues throughout Charleston, South Carolina so that the music can be enjoyed in traditional and intimate surroundings. Tickets are available in advance or on the day from the venues. See www.bluesbash.com or contact the Charleston Conventions and Visitors Bureau on 001 304 344-5075.

USA

Music From Japan Festival, 7 - 17 February

Organised to promote a wider knowledge of Japanese music and composers in the West. Performances of classical, traditional and modern Japanese music will be accompanied by lectures explaining how Japanese music has evolved. The main programme of events will take place in New York City's Merkin Concert Hall. The little-known indigenous Ainu tribe will perform concerts in Washington DC (001 202 357 2700), Nashville (001 615 898 2229) and Los Angeles (001 213 680 3700). Tickets for New York from the Merkin Concert Hall (001 212 501 3330). Call the Japanese American Association on 001 212 840 6942 or see www.music-fromjapan.org.

ZANZIBAR

Sauti za Busara Swahili Music Festival, 13 - 15 February

This vibrant celebration of Swahili music covers dance bands, traditional music from Zanzibar and Rwanda, religious music from Egypt, Swahili hip hop and R&B, and "taarab", an eastern-African fusion of Indian, Arabian and African sounds. "Sauti za busara" means "sounds of wisdom", which is the objective of the festival - to enlighten and educate. There will also be dance performances and music workshops. For more information contact Busara Promotions on 00 255 747 428478 or see www.world-musiccentral.org.

BEIRUT

Al-Bustam Festival of Music & the Arts, 18 February - 21 March

The Al-Bustan Festival has a different theme each year; this year it's Hungarian classical music, with performances by the Warsaw Chamber Orchestra, the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. Venues include the Emile Bustani Auditorium and the Crystal Garden glass conservatory. Prices vary according to concert and venue. For more information call 00 961 3 752000 (Beirut), 020-7937 2633 (London), or see www.albustanfestival.com.

COSTA RICA

South Caribbean Music Festival, 21 February - 14 March

The Caribbean, with its rich musical heritage, sways to the beat of everything from calypso to reggae at the end of February. On the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, where Afro Caribbean culture meets Latin American there will also be workshops to teach music to local children. Events take place at the Playa Chiquita Lodge in between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo. For more information call 00 506 750 0408 or visit www.playachiquitalodge.com/festival.htm

USA

New Orleans Mardi Gras, 24 February

Nowhere celebrates Mardi Gras (or Shrove Tuesday) quite like New Orleans. The French Quarter will be heaving with revellers in costumes, dancing in the streets and hanging off garishly decorated floats. Celebrations actually began on Twelfth Night and culminate on 24 February with no fewer than 15 parades. For more information call 01462 458696 or go to www.mardi-grasneworleans.com.

ARGENTINA

Buenos Aires Tango Festival, 28 February - 7 March

For a week the streets of Buenos Aires will resound to the rhythms of this sultry dance with performances on stages along the Avenida Corrientes and other venues. The week will also see the second Metropolitan Tango Salon Championships, guaranteed to draw some of the best tango dancers in the world to battle it out for the prize. Free lessons for beginners are offered at the Centro Cultural General San Martin. For more information call 00 54 11 4372 0750

USA

Carnival Miami, 5 - 14 March

The carnival kicks off with a charitable 8km run to raise some money for the children of Miami and under-privileged Hispanic students. The focal point of the festival is the Calle Ocho Festival on 14 March, which is the largest annual celebration of Hispanic culture in the United States. Salsa, merengue, pop and Caribbean music will be performed on around 30 different stages around the district of Little Havana. Events are free. For more information call 001 305 644 8888 or see www.carnaval-miami.org.

AUSTRIA

Vienna Spring Festival, 15 March - 8 May

This year sees the 100th anniversary of the death of composer Antonin Dvorák and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Leos Janácek, so what better focus for the annual Vienna Spring Festival than the life and works of the two? Other composers will also be remembered with performances of the work of Haydn, Elgar and Mozart. Concerts take place at various concert halls throughout Vienna. Call 00 43 1 242002 or see www.konzerthaus.at for more information.

FRANCE

Springtime Accordion Festival, 19 March - 3 April

The emblematic instru-ment of Lozère in the South of France's Languedoc region, is celebrated during this festival. Not all performances will employ the instrument traditionally - there will also be Jazz, traditional French and Yiddish concerts. For more information call 00 33 466 492393.

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