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The Independent Travel


The tranquil hills of the Cotswolds are alive with the sound of music. The Cheltenham International Festival of Music is underway with highlights such as a cycle of the three Elgar symphonies, including Anthony Payne's universally acclaimed completion of the Third Symphony, performed by the BBC Philharmonic, Symphony and Scottish Orchestras. The Royal Opera House Orchestra offer the finest opera and ballet music. Box office and programme information (tel: 01242 227 979).



The city that spawned such legendary club nights as Vague and Back to Basics, hosts a day of dance, DJs and drumming. Today, the finale of the Breeze '99 festival, sees such guests as E17, Audioweb and Icelandic band Bellatrix take the stage in the massive open air arena in the centre of Leeds. This free festival also features a dance tent capable of catering to a 40,000 strong crowd. Entry is free by ticket only, obtainable in person from outlets around Leeds (tel: 0113 247-4477).

6-7 JULY


A bizarre Belgian custom in Bernissart is the Decapitation de L'oie, (the "beheading the goose" festival). This gruesome tradition stems from the Hussars who wished to preserve the legend of a quarrel between two Lords, which resulted in an annual allowance to the winner of a goose. Every year the King of the Hussars is blindfolded and must try to behead a (dead) goose with a single swipe of his sabre. If he misses, further attempt are made by the mayor, the captain and then other Hussars in order of seniority.

7-14 JULY


What started as a way of getting bulls into the ring for fights, has become a cacophony of screams, thundering hooves, fireworks, dancing and music. El Encierro (the running of the Bulls) is a medieval Spanish tradition best known in Pamplona during the festival of San Fermin. The total course is 800 hair-raising metres and the aim of the brave (some would say stupid) participants is to get close to the bulls without being skewered, though every year people are hurt and sometimes killed.



Berlin's Love Parade confirms that pink PVC is the new black and that techno is the new religion, as flamboyant clubbers storm the streets of the capital. The million-strong crowd of dance-music disciples and a pilgrimage of monster "love trucks" result in a 24-hour danceathon. This year the route has been divided into two parts, both setting off at 2pm in the direction of the Golden Angel, one starting from Ernst-Reuter-Platz and the other from the Brandenburg Gate.