30 AND 31 MAY


If mad English customs are your thing, get yourself down to Combe Martin, Devon. The village puts on its annual Hunt of the Earl of Rone. Banned in 1837 for encouraging drunken and licentious behaviour, but revived in 1970, this event consists mainly of hanging around the village pubs. The legend has it that the Earl of Rone was an Irish lord who was shipwrecked on a nearby beach in 1600. He was finally captured in Lady's Wood at the top of the village by Lord Chichester and his loyal band of grenadiers. His hunt and capture is re-enacted by the villagers over the bank-holiday weekend, with the part of the Earl being played by a different villager every year. Once captured, usually on Monday, the Earl is escorted to the seafront, seated backwards on Thistle the donkey, accompanied by a motley crew of villagers - a fool carrying a broom, a hobby-horse, the band, and a fair number of inebriated hunters. An effigy of the Earl is finally thrown into the sea. Good clean fun. For details contact Pat or Paul Hartley (tel: 01271 882 524).



This week sees the opening of a huge exhibition of Andy Warhol's work, spanning four decades, at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. With more than 700 exhibits on display, this is the exhibition that Warhol fans have been waiting for. It aims to explore the full range of his work in different media, backed up by archival material - Warhol and his Factory mates generated work embracing painting, sculpture, drawing, print, film, video, and music.

Running concurrently with the Warhol show, the work of his main assistant and closest friend, Gerard Malanga, is going to be exhibited at Brussels's Le Botanique. Expect photos of all the major players in the Factory's history - Lou Reed, Nico et al - and more than 50 portraits of stars of the American music, cinema and literature scenes from the past 40 years - from Beats to Surrealists. The exhibition will be launched with a performance by Malanga himself, alongside New York's DJ Olive, at Le Botanique on 2 June.

Time Off (tel: 0990 846363) is offering special "Warhol Weekends", which include return Eurostar travel, accommodation and entry to the exhibition.



Noh is the traditional Japanese form of theatre developed out of a religious dance. The "Takigi Noh" performance on these two days, at Heian Shrine in Kyoto, brings together the various schools across Japan that teach this form of drama. It is a highly stylised art, with actors wearing subtly expressive masks and robes. Formalised movements, and dramatic contrasts of stillness and motion perfectly encapsulate Zen aestheticism. The bare wooden stage, typical of Noh performances, will be set up in the shrine's compound, and the actors will be lit only by blazing torches. All very atmospheric.


Catholic countries worldwide

Held on the Thursday after the Festival of the Trinity, the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi is celebrated throughout the Catholic world. Every village church and city cathedral in Italy and Spain will mark this important date in the religious calendar in some way, most often with a procession through the streets. For example, in the hillside town of Genzano, outside Rome, the evening before Corpus Christi is spent creating elaborate floral patterns along the processional route. On the River Arno, near Pisa, again the night before, the festival is marked with a candlelit regatta. Valencia, in Spain, has been celebrating Corpus Christi since 1355 by performing mystery plays on wooden floats called roques.

3-6 JUNE


The Chicago Blues Festival turns 16 this year and celebrates with style. The greats of the contemporary blues scene will perform here, including the Bobby Blues Band (3 June), Kim Wilson (4 June), Denise LaSalle (5 June) and Taj Mahal (6 June). Part of the Festival's programme will be dedicated to paying tribute to the legacy of Georgia Tom, Sleepy John and Sonny Boy II, all of whom were born 100 years ago this year. All events are free and take place in Grant Park from 11am to 9.30pm each day. For further details check out the Festival website at: www.ci.chi.us/WM/Special Events

3-8 JUNE


George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, in Saxony-Anhalt, in 1685 and the city is justly proud of its famous son. To celebrate its part in the great composer's life, the city hosts a festival of his music every year, and this is the 48th. For details contact Halle Tourist Office (tel: 0049 345 2024700).

4-6 JUNE


If the lifestyle of Canada's Indians has always seemed rather attractive, here is your chance to test the reality. A Shawenequanape Indian village on the banks of Lake Katherine, in Canada's Manitoba province, stages the first of three summer Powwows this weekend. This beautiful setting will resound with the beat of Indian drums and all those attending will get the opportunity to learn some traditional Indian handicrafts, such as making a tepee, a drum or a dream-catcher. For further details, consult the website: www.gov.mb.ca/Travel-Manitoba (or tel: 001 204 8482815).



Every year, the World Toe Wrestling Championships are held at Ye Olde Royal Oak in Wetton, Staffordshire. This is the premier event in the calendars of all self-respecting toe-wrestlers from every corner of the world. There will be nail-biting events for both men and women, and, to keep the children entertained, a traditional English fair, complete with a band.


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