Downtown Indianapolis Welcomes Spring With a Mix of Sports and Arts

Monument Circle Idea Competition - entries due April 15
Monument Circle is where we gather to celebrate and commemorate and merits maximum attention, creativity and vision. The Monument Circle Idea Competition is designed to bring forward ideas and inspire community thinking to help re-imagine Monument Circle and how we want to use the space for the next 20-30 years. Anyone is invited to submit an idea by April 15. All competition entries must be submitted digitally to the Monument Circle Idea Competition Web site. Submittals require a $30 entry fee and four images to illustrate the idea. The ideas that are generated will be used to inform planning efforts and incorporate meaningful input into concepts as they are developed locally.

Monument Circle trees get spring makeover
Seventy-one trees on Monument Circle are getting a spring makeover as the old light strands are replaced with new lights April 4 - 8. Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. (IDI) has partnered with Barth Electric Company, Inc., ERMCO Electric Inc., Miller Eads Co. Inc. and Long Electric Company, Inc. (all Quality Connection contractors) to get the job done. The trees will also be pruned.

Basketball first... then baseball is back!
First thing, get your share of college basketball with the NCAA Women's Final Four at Conseco Fieldhouse April 1 - 5. Friday through Tuesday is jam packed with fan events that range from Tourney Town at the Indiana Convention Center to a Scotty's Brewhouse tent party to the WBCA High School All-American game. The semi-finals are April 3 and the championship game is April 5.

The boys of summer are ready to swing into action. The Indianapolis Indians' season opener is April 7 against the Columbus Clippers. The opener will include a fantastic fireworks show following the game and a 2011 Indians schedule magnet giveaway to the first 5,000 fans. The Indians have guaranteed a game-time temperature of at least 60 degrees! If it's not, everyone at the game receives a FREE ticket to another April home game. The popular Monday Dollar menu returns with $1 hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, popcorn and potato chips. Enjoy Indianapolis Star Two for One Tuesdays, Thursday Value Packs, Friday Night Fireworks, ZOOper Zaturdays, Souvenir Sundays and several Business Day games.

The Indiana Pacers wraps up its 2010-2011 regular season with four home games April 1, 6, 8, & 10. Cheer on the team at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Celebrating spring
April is host to both Earth Day and Arbor Day. Celebrate mother Earth at White River State Park April 23 at the Earth Day Indiana Festival with live music and food. Learn how important trees are to the Indy community at the Indiana State Museum's Arbor Day Celebration April 29.

Hit the ground running
April presents several excuses to get outside and enjoy the new season, starting with the 500 Festival Training Series - 15K April 9 at the NCAA Hall of Champions. Come out for the Walk For Water April 10 or the Best Buddies 5k April 17. Walkers and runners alike can move for a cause with the 20th Annual Komen Indianapolis Race for the Cure April 16 at IUPUI, the Matt Breman Memorial Walk & Run to End Child Abuse April 23 at Buggs Temple or the Walk MS: Indianapolis April 30 also at IUPUI.

WOW- A Wondrous Opening Weekend
The Indiana Landmarks Center will celebrate its grand opening weekend April 16 and 17. Sunday, April 17 is the FREE, public Open House or check out the Classical Bash featuring the Landmark Trio for $75 that afternoon.

Bon apptit
Downtown hosts a menu chock full of dining activities this April. Easley Winery will be dishing out live music, food and wine specials for Groovin on Ice April 2. Learn the ins and outs of kitchen gardens at Kitchen Garden Renaissance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art's Tobias Theatre April 14. Last call for the Indy Winter Farmer's Market! The weekly Saturday market will have its last day of the season April 30.

Artsy spots
Discover some of Indy's local art hot spots this spring. A new exhibit opens at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) April 22. Material World will feature textiles from around the world and highlight the significance of textiles in displaying wealth, status and power. See the other great exhibits at the IMA including the work of Thornton Dial.

The Central Library hosts the Notable Arts Collection of 2011 April 4 - 30. Learn about the German-American immigrant experience in Indiana during World War I at Art for the Nation demo: Immigration, the German-American Experience on April 28.

Get a behind the scenes view at the Stutz Artist Open House April 29 & 30 where you can see the work of 70 local artists, as well as where and how the work is created.

Also check out Red Black: Related Through History at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art, Incredible Costumes from Film and TV at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis and Hard Truths: The Art of Thorton Dial at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

In the spotlight for April
Head to Hilbert Circle Theatre as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra presents Sibelius 2 April 1 & 2, Tchaikovsky 3 April 7 - 9, Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Caf April 10, Bach's Mass in B Minor April 15 & 16 and Sylvia McNair and the Four Freshman April 29 & 30.

The Cabaret at The Columbia Club hosts an Intimate Evening with Melissa Manchester April 2 and The History of Jazz with the Indy Jazz Fest Band April 22.

See Victorian Theatre by Candlelight: "Murder Most Merry" at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site throughout April. On April 9 hear the melodic voices of Celtic Woman at the Old National Centre or rock out to Broadway Across America's Rock of Ages at Clowes Memorial Hall April 12 - 17. Ensemble Music: Quartuor Ebene will be at the Glick History Center April13.

Die from laughter at the Indiana Repertory Theatre with a take on a Hitchcock classic, The 39 Steps starting April 20. Celebrate and gently spoof the Circle City's love affair with all things Indy 500 at the Phoenix Theatre starting April 28 with The Zippers of Zoomerville.

Disney World Flower and Garden Festival

If the Disney World Flower and Garden Festival is of interest to you, the time has almost arrived! From March 19th through June 1st, a span of over 75 days, some of the most amazing displays will be on view at Epcot. Disney World takes the art of topiary to a whole new level with exhibits ranging from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Pluto, and everything in between!

There will literally be MILLIONS of blooms held within the artwork that the numerous horticulturists have spent long hours honing to perfection. Speaking of horticulturists, a new addition to the festival called Garden Town allows event visitors to interact with some of the premier horticulturists who are responsible for the colorful blossoms. These interactions will allow individuals to receive flower growing and cultivating tips, as well as take part in demonstrations. A presentation by DuPont educates viewers on turning their yard into an elegant place to entertain and relax through "The Keys to Outdoor Living." These are only a few of the activities that visitors can partake in throughout their time at the festival.

In addition to the magnificent displays, Disney World offers a variety of subcategories to choose from. For example, the Butterfly House, a popular repeat, has butterflies flying free for kids (and adults) to enjoy up close. And don't miss the Flower Power Concert Series, music provided in the evenings at American Gardens Theatre.

Since the event is spread over 2 ½ months, there's no need to miss this opportunity provided by Disney.

Singapore - For an Experience of the Most Distinct Dance, Music and Other Art Forms

Being a huge mix of various cultures, the art, music and dance forms of Singapore have developed into something very unique and distinct. Dance and music in Singapore are a mix of the art forms of various other forms. However, the art forms have their own identity and are unique from all the other influencing art forms.

Singapore has a huge advantage. Being located at a strategic location, it has become a hub for people of various south Asian countries to settle and make the country their home. Years of immigrations has resulted in a very distinct culture in the country which you can experience when you take up a Singapore tour package. One of the most prominent influences of these varied cultures can be found in the field of arts. If you visit some of the museums such as Asian civilizations museum, Peranakan museum, National Museum of Singapore and Singapore art museum, you can witness a kaleidoscope of exhibits that speak volumes about the multicultural character of the country.

The dance and music of the country have also been largely influenced by the mixed cultural influences of different settlers. The contemporary and traditional forms of dance rule the cultural circuits. Although Singapore has a short history of dance and music, the dance forms are very well developed and a true reflection of the cultural diversity of Singapore. Dance forms began to take root during Singapore's freedom struggle after World War II. As part of the struggle, a number of multicultural activities were launched and this went to become the foundation of Singapore dances and music. After Singapore got independence in 1959, ministry of culture was formed and in 1963, the National Theater was built. If you are a connoisseur of culture, this theatre should be an apt inclusion in your Singapore tour package. Singapore also hosted the first cultural festival of Southeast Asia.

Dance and music took strong roots in the culture of Singapore. In 1970s, People's Association Dance Company was set up and in 1978, Singapore hosted its National Dance Festival. There are a lot of places that you can visit as part of Singapore packages to see various dance forms of the country. Music is as well appreciated in Singapore as are its dance forms. During your visit to the country as part of Singapore tour package, you can include trips to cultural centers such as Singapore Dance Theater, Chinese Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Concert in the Park. These shows are extremely entertaining. Indian Carnatic and Hindustani music is regularly performed in many places. Several entertainment shows are also put up in Singapore hotels. You can have a leisurely dinner while watching these shows. The theater groups and Singapore hotels present some very entertaining cultural programs.

Some of the cultural festivals that are celebrated annually in Singapore are World of Music and Dance Festival, Singapore International Piano Festival and Mosaic Music Festival, to name a few. You can plan your Singapore packages to coincide with these festivals and have a musical time in Singapore. Besides these shows, Singapore hotels and cultural centers also organize comedy shows, pop music shows, opera performances, theatrical productions and cinemas for the entertainment of visitors. Singapore is an extremely beautiful place in terms of culture, arts, dance and music. When you choose Singapore packages, allot some time to experience these flavors of Singapore. The experience is going to be very memorable and naturally, highly enjoyable as well.

The Singapore Arts Festival

The Singapore Arts Festival is one of the most awaited annual arts gatherings in the world. It started in 1977 which showcases the local arts in Singapore and for years it became to be Singapore's iconic symbol that reflects the country's cultural and artistic life. From a local art festivities Singapore arts festival gradually transformed the city to become one of Asia's cultural capital today.

The National Arts Council organizes the annual art activities which is held during mid-year with month-long activities of theater arts, visual arts, musical shows, and dance festivities. The art celebrations used to be a local celebration by region in Singapore but as it became grown to be popular throughout the world international artists began to participate with the event. The Singapore arts festival has a touch of Asian culture with distinctive contemporary arts.

Organizers of the Singapore Arts Festival take the extra effort of planning non-stop activities to entertain people from various countries who are expected to participate and visit Singapore for their most-awaited art festival. They plan specific venues which they call the Festival Village at the Esplanade Park where wonderful artworks are showcased and different stage performances are held for quality entertainment. Spectacular shows are held in the village including stage performances, art gallery exhibits, and other striking installation of cultural and art displays. For better entertainment among the visitors the organizers usually allow guests to make their own art for souvenirs. Workshops, salon sessions, and master classes are also available.

For better convenience, the organizers of the Singapore Arts Festival also provide a one-stop shop that caters to the needs of the festival guests where they can buy tickets for their favorite shows, read about the history and other relevant information about the festival and buy limited edition of Singapore Arts Festival merchandise.

The festival also opens an avenue for children to learn different works of art and to discover their ability to become artistic. The festival is a perfect occasion to encourage young artists to develop their craft and discover their talents in art. Children as young artists are able to learn to become more creative and improve their skills as they discover their potential as artists. The Kids Arts Village is also located at the Festival Village at the Esplanade Park. What makes this undertaking more fun and interesting is that the activities are managed, curated, and performed by children themselves. There are great foods and drinks available during the festival too on top of the wonderful entertainment for all ages.

Because the Singapore Arts Festival has become an international event, the Artsfest Club was created in order to provide better services and benefits to those who intend to attend and participate to the event. Members enjoy the privilege of booking their favorite art shows at wonderful discounts with a seat reservation benefit. They are also updated with the latest activities during the festival through email and enjoy more discount privileges on other merchandise and festival activities. With good food, wonderful work of art, galleries, and international performances combined, the Singapore arts festival is no doubt one of the most awaited Asian cultural and art festivities by many.

History of the SXSW Music Festival

The South by Southwest Music Festival has been running strong, and getting stronger, since it originated in 1987. Austin considers itself the live music capital of the world, and though cities would like to battle that claim, musicians and music industry types clamor to the capital of Texas every March from around the globe.

Austin has had an entertainment district for several decades. As the home of the state government and the University of Texas, Austin has always had lively nightspots, some of which date back to the 1800s, when many of General Custer's troops poured into clubs after the Civil War. The majority of these clubs were located along 6th street and 4th street, where the entertainment district is still located today, and the musical styles varied widely due to the mix of Mexican, colonial and German settlers. The area today hosts the highest concentration of original music nightclubs of any other city worldwide.

In 1986, the New Music Seminar in New York invited many of Austin's local bands to their popular music convention, and discussed having another one in Austin the next year, and it would be called the New Music Seminar Southwest. Though the New Music Seminar group pulled out shortly after their announcement, Louis Black and his cohorts ran with the idea, and started up their own festival and conference, calling it South by Southwest.

In 1986, those working on the festival announced the idea at a BMI seminar at the Hyatt, and the buzz began. A few of those working on the event were also working at The Chronicle at the time, and they began getting the word out to other alternative newspapers around the country. Knowing they didn't have the serious industry connections on the east or west coast, an ad and story was run in Billboard magazine, which really fueled the fire. Executives from major record and publishing companies from New York, Nashville and Los Angeles began to register for the conference. Though the South by Southwest crew originally shot for 150 registrants their first year, more than 700 turned up.

Having the SXSW Music Festival in Austin was beneficial for the music industry as well as the local musicians: the music business was curious about Austin's live music scene and had a reason to visit the city, and the musicians, who are normally isolated from the rest of the country in the middle of Texas, get a chance to do business with the industry from the comfort of their own backyard.

In 1988, SXSW fever had hit the international stage, after the hometown bands found some success in Europe, and the interest from those attending the festival in seeing international acts perform. Now SXSW has offices in Europe, Australia, and Japan to help those international bands with their travel arrangements, get their visas in order, and find housing upon arrival.

As Austin changed and grew, hi tech companies moved in and the film industry deemed Austin as "The Third Coast." In 1994, SXSW added a film festival and an interactive festival that tied into their music festival, stretching SXSW over two weekends during spring break, when many students have left the town. Now the festival, which started with 700 in attendance, has grown to 10,000 participants this past year.

VJ Art

VJ art is a realtime visual performance art. VJing includes creation and/ or artistic manipulation of imagery in real-time using technologies. Music synchronization is an essential attribute of this performance. All these are done for a live audience.

VJing is a common phenomenon of nightclubs, music festivals, concerts and sometimes in combination with other performances. This is obviously a live multimedia performance that incorporates music, acting and dances. Though MTV popularized the term, VJing has its roots in New York club scene of the 70s. In VJing, there is realtime mixing of content from a "library of media", viz., from DVD disks or storage media such as VHS tapes, still and video image files on computer hard drives, live camera input, or from a computer generated visuals. It also involves realtime processing of the visual stuff.

Historically, VJing is related to the artificial practice of vision and sound. These scenes and sounds are mingleed with other live audiovisuals, such as Live Cinema, the camera obscura, the panorama and diorama, the magic lantern, color organ, and liquid light shows.

The color organ is the instrument of making colors corresponding to sound through mechanical and electrical means. The color organ was engineered by Bainbridge Bishop. The concept of the instrument is painting music. Bishop wrote in a book in 1893 about the instrument. In this machine he attached keys of an organ with different colored lights to correspond with the different notes of the instrument.

Between 1919 and 1927, Mary Hallock-Greenewalt, the piano soloist, created analogous device called Nourathar, or "essence of light" if translated to English from Arabic. Her light music constituted of environmental color fields that produced a scale of light intensities and color.

Liquid-slides, light projections and disco balls were the hot trends of in clubs and private events during the 1960s. In association with smoke the play of light used to create sensation among the audiences. These were fashionably called then liquid light shows.

Passing through several evolutionary phases over 70s and 80s it took the present form. With the evolution of digital media, its evolution, too, is a still continuing process.

Melbourne Attractions - From AFL Finals to Food and Wine Festivals

Melbourne attractions range from spectator sports to gastronomic feasts. The city is the capital of Victoria and runs second to Sydney as the most populous city in Australia. Today, the country takes pride in Melbourne as its seat of arts, entertainment, sports and tourism. Melburnians and tourists never run out of activities to do and places to visit.

Culinary festivals, wine tastings, cooking classes and practically anything and everything that has to do with food and wine you'll find in Melbourne and its nearby areas. Fine restaurants offering superb local and international dishes, cozy cafes and pubs, markets and farms growing top-grade regional produce, and many other feasts await you in the region. But the star of the hospitality and culinary attractions in Melbourne is the winemaking industry.

With just a short drive from the city, you'll be awed by the distinct wine regions of Victoria, including the pinot vineyards of Mornington Peninsula and the cool-climate still wine district of Yarra Valley, among others. Mornington Peninsula opens over 50 boutique cellar doors to locals and tourists who mainly visit for the region's pinot noir and chardonnay. You'll love tasting the different styles of the hinterland villages of Red Hill and Moorooduc and the coastal areas of Merricks and Balnarring.

In the Yarra Valley, you'll delight in the vintage masterpieces of over 70 wineries. Your options would range from the industry masters like DeBortoli, Fergusson and Yerling Station to the charming boutiques of Punt Road and Mandala Wines.

Along the road you won't miss the farms abounding in local produce that have also become one of the attractions in Melbourne and its neighboring towns. You'd think that the trails of food fests, picking farms, gourmet delis, winery restaurants and cafes wouldn't end.

Aside from satisfying your taste buds, the city is also known for its passion for spectator sports. One big obsession of Melburnians is the Australian Football League (AFL), which is also known as Aussie Rules. Played during the winter season, the AFL hogs the limelight for 22 weeks from March to September. Its Grand Final usually packs the Melbourne Cricket Ground and attracts millions of television audience worldwide.

The city is also a cradle for arts, music, theater and other cultural activities. It is the home of the Australian Ballet Company, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and top concert grounds for international artists like the Rod Laver Arena and the Forum Theatre, which is known for its ornate architecture and starry sky ceiling. This Victorian capital is also compared often to New York and Berlin for its street art. Its laneways and alleys showcasing street art has become a top cultural pick in Australia in the recent years.

Locals and tourists, wherever their passions and interests lie, would always have something to do and places to go to in this city. Melbourne attractions are abundant and diverse that you would find something that would interest you anytime of the year.

Refresh Your Sense With Music and Dance of Goa

Goa is all about fun and Goans love to pull a string or shake a leg at every occasion. They are quite talented when it comes to music and dance. When it comes to culture, it is difficult to imagine Goa without its Portuguese connection. Because of 450 years of Portuguese rule in Goa, we find a unique and rich blend of western and eastern culture here. This influence can be seen in every aspect of Goan life, from art and architecture to food and music.

Music is in the blood of Goans since ancient times. You can find a pianist or a guitarist in almost every home in Goa. Rural areas are still sticked to the traditional forms of music while the urban areas have shifted to a more modern version. Goa is famous for its 'Trance Music'

Goan Music

Goans are trained and encouraged to learn music from a very young age. Their love and dedication towards music can be seen in every occasion and festival. On a Goa tour, you can listen to the traditional music patterns like- Suvari, Kunnbi-Gee, Mando (a love song sung by Goan Catholics), Painnem Halounk (cradle song), Dantear Ovio (sung while grinding wheat and rice) etc. Goa tour packages offer you a wonderful opportunity to start your day with the pleasing chimes of the church bells and chase your dreams with the melody of violins.

Ghumat, Shamel, Violin, Guitar, Piano, Cymbals, Shehnai and Surt are the major instruments that are used in almost every Goan music pattern.

Goan Dance

Fugdi and Dhalo are the most popular of local dance forms of Goa that are performed by women only. Apart from that, various other traditional dance forms in Goa that are preferred by the tourists are: Kunbi (a rustic tribal dance cum song), Dekni (a blend of eastern and western rhythms), Dhangar (performed during Navratras), Lamp dance (performed by women with lamps on their heads during the Shigmo festival) and Morulem (performed during Shigmo festival).

A few of these dance forms are inherent to certain festivals because these are performed as a gesture of devotion to Gods. Fun is synonymous with Goan music and dance, and it has a unique identity in terms of reflecting lifestyles, cultures, and different religions.

Hutch Presents Legends Of India Announces 9th Annual Sangeet Festival In Kolkata

Kolkata,India: March 29: Legends of India announced its 9th Annual Sangeet Festival here today in Kolkata. The event will be held on April 6, 2007 in Kalamandir, Kolkata. Sarod samrat Rajeev Taranath, world renowned flautist Pt. Ronu Majumdar and Kuchipudi maestro Padamshree Jayarama Rao and Vanashree Rao will perform at the show.

Addressing the media, Dipayan Mazumdar, Chairman Legends of India, said, "There are some decisions that change one's whole life. One such decision, taken over nine years ago was to launch the "Legends of India". It is an attempt to nurture Indian art forms, be it music, theatre or the fine arts. In the last nine years, we have organized more than 25 Festivals and presented over 150 artistes who include Legends of Indian Classical art forms besides those who are Legends in the making. In the process, Legends of India has taken on a life of its own and gained momentum that pushes us forward to take on more and more ambitious projects." Two eminent personalities of the music world, Shri Bikram Ghosh and Shri Tejinder Narayan Majumdar were also present at the conference.

Their new project in 2007 is the Legends of India Sangeet Festival in Kolkata for the very first time. The event is being organised in collaboration with Hutch. Both shall henceforth jointly present the annual Sangeet festivals. This will provide an opportunity to the music lovers of Kolkata to witness some of the legendary artists.

Hutch has had a long-standing involvement with art and culture in India. Over the years, it has made many exciting events possible. Hutch has been a partner in many cultural events like Kolkata's very own Odeon, featuring the cream of national and regional theatre. The aim of the Hutch group has always been to bring out the best of Indian classical art forms on one stage, a dream that it shares with the Legends of India.

The society has also introduced the Legends of India Lifetime Achievement Award in the year 2002 in order to honour an accomplished artist or organization for his/their unrelenting effort/s in promoting traditional art forms be it Sangeet, theatre and fine arts. Late Smt. Chandralekha, Dr. Yamini Krishnamurthy, Pt. Birju Maharaj, Shri Badal Sircar are some of the legendary artists who have received the award in the past.

Legends of India is a society and a non-profit organization. We wish to create an Institution of Culture conducting mutual exchange programs in India and abroad, imparting the knowledge of rich Indian art forms and provide educational amenities implementing Guru Shishya Parampara. In this endeavour we seek the support of all and the corporate world in particular.

"The aim to this society remains to bring the Legends of Indian classical music to the common man", said Krishna Bhadra, Secretary, Legends of India.

Legends of India has been hosting music, dance and art festivals in Delhi and Mumbai for the last 8 years successfully. It has presented "legends" like Ghulam Ali, Amjad Ali, Shubha Mudgal, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma to the people and aims to bring such legends closer to the people.

Combine Music and Wine With a May Cruise to Sydney

Sydney is a great cruise destination all year round - but if you choose to sail to the city in May, you get to enjoy the popular Jazz and Shiraz Food and Wine Festival.

Held every year in the suburb of Cronulla, the event combines great music with equally great food and drink to make for a fantastic few days for locals and tourists alike.

Dozens of stalls offer gourmet goodies, fine wine and sugary treats in the picturesque setting of Dunningham Park, while some of the world's greatest jazz stars take to the stage for an unforgettable concert.

Jeff Duff, Elana Stone, Grace Knight, Vince Jones and Deni Hines are among those who have previous performed at the Jazz and Shiraz Food and Wine Festival.

As the park is located just 25 km from Sydney's city centre, the festival is ideally situated for a day out if staying in the heart of the metropolis.

However, there's more to Cronulla than the Jazz and Shiraz Food and Wine Festival and those taking advantage of cruise deals to Sydney will be able to enjoy a host of other attractions.

The area is home to several areas of natural interest, not least of which is the awe-inspiring Royal National Park and its 16,000 hectares of fantastic scenery.

Visitors can take in the spectacle of more than 700 species of plant flowering at the same time in the summer, as well as take trips to locations such as Audley - the perfect picnic spot - and Wattamolla and Garie beaches.

Keen walkers will also be able to take advantage of the 150 km of hiking trails that can be found in the Royal National Park - making for some stunning walks along the coast.

Other attractions in Cronulla include the Kurnell Peninsula, the villages of Bundeena and Maianbar, the Symbio Wildlife Gardens and the Sutherland Shire Entertainment Centre, which is a popular venue for live shows and concerts.

Alternatively, the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre in Gymea, the Sutherland Art Gallery and the Bundeena-Maianbar Art Trail could be ideal for culture vultures.

Visit the Port Eliot Festival to Experience Literature, Music and Laughter

The Port Eliot Festival may not be one of the most high-profile summer arts events, but its mix of literature, music and alternative entertainment ensures it is one of the most fascinating.

People staying in self-catering cottages in Cornwall will be able to experience the 2010 festival, which is staged on the magnificent country estate belonging to the Earl of St Germans, from July 23rd-25th.

If you are a bit of a bookworm, you are sure to find plenty to interest you at the Port Eliot Festival.

Hari Kunzru, Geoff Dyer, Ferdinand Mount and Margaret Drabble are among the novelists who will be reading from their latest books, while sci-fi author Matthew De Abaitua will be holding a tour of the site and giving lessons in how not to write poetry.

Non-fiction authors booked to give readings or take part in discussions include TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, pop star turned acerbic writer Luke Haines and ceramic artist Edmund de Waal.

And make sure you don't miss poet Ross Sutherland performing his new solo comedy show The Three Stigmata of Pacman, which promises to be one of the highlights of the weekend.

You may prefer to use your holiday cottage in Cornwall as a base from which to check out some of the musical talent at the festival.

There are no multimillion-selling stadium rock-style headline acts at Port Eliot, but you will be able to watch a host of up-and-coming or unusual acts play.

The Leisure Society, Fionn Regan, The Loose Salute and Danny And The Champions Of The World will all be showcasing tracks from their latest albums.

If you prefer a touch of performance art with your music, you may want to see what delightfully eccentric acts such as Antony Elvin, The Book Club Boutique Band, Princes In The Tower and Mik Artistik's Ego Trip have to offer.

You may even find you learn something - even if it is something you didn't really need to know - if you take a trip to the festival while staying in cottages in Cornwall.

The festival has an Idler's Academy, which is scheduled to feature former KLF star Bill Drummond giving lessons in how to build a bed and journalist Toby Young providing advice on how to start a school, while you will also be able to pick up some tips on clothes and gardening at the fashion and flower show exhibits.

Coachella Valley Music Festival

It all started on a November 5th evening in 1993 when rock band Pearl Jam played before 25,000 fans at a free concert on the desert lawns of the Empire Polo Club. From there the seed was planted for the nation's biggest music festival to take form for one weekend, the Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival.

Six years later the Coachella Valley Music Festival or what it's commonly known as Coachella Fest exhibits the best of the music world that perform for over 60,000 attendees each day in a span of 3 days with a variety of music performances playing at the same time on multiple stages.

In its early days, Coachella was held in the sultry month of October. But the Festival Organizers realized the desert heat was in full bloom during that time of the year and decided to move it up into April when the heat was more tolerable and sometimes downright comfortable.

It is in Indio were such musical performances like Madonna, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, Prince, Nine Inch Nails, and Jay-Z have graced the stage in the desert.

What makes it an even more inviting event is the fact that camping is allowed on an adjacent polo field next to the venue grounds. The campsite provides a separate entrance, a karaoke lounge, a general store, and shower trucks.

The Coachella Fest has gradually grown into a musical bonanza for the avid music lovers since 2003. The festival is a prime event for reunion acts like Iggy Pop and The Stooges in 2003 or Rage Against the Machine's reunion in 2007, which drew nearly 100,000 fans.

I highly urge to refrain from driving yourself since parking is a nightmare. Instead there are two excellent options to use such as using the shuttle service that is provided from all points in the valley or carpool so to lessen the burden. Once there, have plenty of water and become aware of the surroundings. As the day carries into the night and the fun and excitement increases, it becomes easy to get distorted and lose track of where you are unless you know your way around.

Coachella Fest is much more than just music. It is a gathering of people that enable them to sustain friendships and make new ones all being aided by a variety of music as well as art work that can be seen throughout. Most of the pieces are interactive, and provide entertainment and eye candy, which there is a lot of, for the many attendees walking throughout the Polo grounds.

Coachella has become a signature event in the California desert and, if you love good music, a must stop on your next Palm Springs vacation.

The Coconut Grove Arts Festival - An Art Lover's Paradise

With pristine Biscayne Bay as its backdrop, Coconut Grove - or simply the Grove, as it is known to the locals - provides an idyllic venue for a once-a-year watershed event in South Florida's cultural calendar: The Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

With its lush vegetation, scenic streets, varied eateries, and vibrant nightlife, this quaint city regularly draws many visitors, locals and tourists alike, who come to enjoy a taste of the Grove. But it is in February, on the weekend of Presidents' Day celebrations, that the village of Coconut Grove extends a warm South Florida welcome to thousandths of visitors and hundreds of artists that flock to a few blocks of its downtown area to be a part of the premier arts festival in the United States.

From its modest beginning 47 years ago, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival now attracts hundreds of the finer artists from across the continental U.S. and Canada, who come to showcase their creations in clay, mixed media, glass, watercolor, wood, digital, painting, photography, printmaking and drawing, jewelry and metalwork. For 3 days in February, 150,000 visitors stroll along South Bayshore Drive perusing the different works of art for sale in the more than 350 booths located along this scenic thoroughfare. At the end of each day, art enthusiasts and collectors carry home their purchased works to proudly display in their homes or places of business. Last year's take: 4 million dollars.

Though the magnificent artwork on display is unquestionably the arts festival's main draw, there are other popular attractions sure to please every member of the family - young and old. Want to hear live music? Grab a lounge chair and head over to the bandstand in Peacock Park. Each day of the festival, there are well known and aspiring bands of every musical genre, which entertain throughout the day the visitors that escape periodically to the relative tranquility of the park seeking a respite from the crowded streets.

For an opportunity to rub elbows with renowned chefs and sample some of their culinary creations, stop by the popular Culinary Pavilion, where cooking demonstrations are held throughout the day. For a more hearty meal, visit the Global Food Village and sink your teeth into a steak sandwich or an Italian sausage, or try one of Lundy's salads tossed to order, and wash it all down with a Wild Bill's gourmet soda. Situated adjacent to the Global Food Village, the Sculpture Garden is a veritable zoo of over-sized colorful animal sculptures, many of which have moving parts that momentarily bring to life the towering beasts; it is a great place to let the children run around and work off some of their boundless energy.

At the end of the day, sample authentic Cuban cuisine at one of the many fine restaurants located outside the grounds of the arts festival, and make plans for next year's trip; a single visit to this magnificent event will not suffice. If you are an out-of-towner visiting from colder climates, be sure to plan an outing to one of the area's beautiful beaches before heading back home. There is no better place to be in the United States in February than in South Florida, and there is no finer event anywhere for art lovers than the Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

The Bath Music Fest Returns

Great news for music lovers in the south west, it's almost time again for the Bath International Music Festival to take place. The fabulous event takes place every year between May and June and has been running in one form or another since 1948 and has been a great success with improvements and more and more events added each year.

Bath has plenty of strong links to the music scene that date back to the sixteenth century, (even before the city was a popular resort for shopping and entertainment) influential figures such as Queen Elizabeth the 1st would often visit the city to listen to the many musical recitals in its abbey. Due to its strong influences and success with musical and dramatic arts the city set about organising its own festival which has with the exception of a couple of years become a great and well looked forward to event for over 60 years.

Back in 2006 the festival organisers added a new format of planned events which opened the doors to many different genres and collaborations. One of the most memorable and exciting performances that came about that year was a performance in the Bath Abbey by one of the most influential musicians of modern times Brian Eno with the cities Camerata chamber orchestra. Since then the festival has gone from strength to strength with many unique and wonderful performances and shows.

This year the Music festival will have many differing acts from around the world performing throughout the cities music and art venues. The Bath Music Festival opens each year with a large party within the city on the Friday night billed as 'Party in the city'. The free night of entertainment begins with a procession by local school children to Bath Abbey resulting in a performance between them and the Brazilian percussionist and composer Adriano Adewale.

Throughout the rest of the night you will be able to catch many differing genres of music including rock, indie, classical and folk in many of the cities venues. The main attraction and headline event of the night will be the energetic samba group 'Umpatacum' who will be performing at the pavilion and are expected to be a wonderful end to the first night of the weekend's festivities.

For visitors wishing to take advantage of the cities wonderful annual music festival they can be assured of finding many great types of Bath accommodation such as city centre hotels and bed and breakfasts dotted throughout the city. For more information take a look at the festivals website to check out this year's programme of events.

Fall Festivals at Atlanta's Piedmont Park

Atlanta's Piedmont Park will be the site of several large festivals this fall. The popular public park, located in midtown, has been hosting events for more than a century. During the fall of 2012, the Atlanta Arts Festival, Music Midtown, and the Atlanta Gay Pride Festival are scheduled to take place at Piedmont Park.

Art lovers can enjoy the 6th Annual Atlanta Arts Festival the weekend of September 15-16. The festival will feature a juried art show with 200 participants from around the country. Artist categories will include painting, sculpture, photography, glass blowing, leather work, and metal craft. Attendees may participate in interactive learning experiences and classes, as well as watch demonstrations. The festival will also have live musical entertainment, children's activities, and food. Festival hours will be 10am-7pm on Saturday and 10am-6pm on Sunday. Admission to the festival is free.

Music Midtown is scheduled for September 21-22 at Piedmont Park's 10th Street Meadow. Music Midtown is one of Atlanta's favorite musical festivals. The 2012 festival has a full lineup of musical talent that will be performing on two stages. Artists will include Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Van Hunt, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, TI, the Avett Brothers, Girl Talk, Atlanta's own Ludacris, and others. A full food court will be available on site for festival attendees. Festival hours are 4-11pm on Friday evening and 1-11pm on Saturday. Advance purchase general admission tickets are $100 for 2 days and $55 for 1 day. VIP ticket packages are also available.

The Atlanta Gay Pride Festival is the largest Pride event in the Southeast. The 2012 event is scheduled for October 12-14 at Piedmont Park. A variety of booths will be set up at the festival site including businesses, service organizations, churches, and health organizations. Scheduled entertainment for the weekend will be Andy Bell of Erasure, Rita Ora, dance diva Kristine W., and Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls. Other featured festival activities are parades and a popular cabaret show. The festival kicks off at 7pm on Friday evening.

Atlanta's Piedmont Park is located 2 miles northeast of downtown, north of 10th Street between Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive. Entrance gates are located at 12th St, 14th St, Westminster, Worcester Dr, Park Dr, and Charles Allen Dr at 10th St. Vehicle parking in the park is limited, especially during large events. Parking in surrounding neighborhoods is restricted. The multilevel SAGE Parking Garage is located at Atlanta Botanical Garden. Festival attendees are encouraged to take MARTA transportation to midtown and walk to the park.

Enjoy Music and Whiskey in Campbeltown

Campbeltown is located in Scotland by the Campbeltown Lock. Its Gaelic name is Kinlochkilkerran, which is still used. This town was important in the shipping, Scotch whiskey and fishing industries. Whiskey is still produced in Campbeltown and home to Campbeltown Single Malts. It was once considered the whisky capital of the world housing 34 distilleries. Many of the distilleries went out of business during prohibition in the United States. Currently there are three distilleries still operating in Campbeltown.

Campbletown is the home of the annual Mull of Kintyre Music festival. This festival showcases up and coming local bands as well as established groups like The Stranglers and Idlewind. Travelers come from around the world for this festival. The festival has performs of both contemporary and traditional music. Campbeltown also has a museum that showcases prehistoric items fro excavations in the area. The Art deco cinema is one of the oldest purpose built cinema in Scotland being constructed in 1913.

Campbeltown has an airport and there are regular flights to Glasgow during the week. Sea transport is common as the town is found at the far end of a long peninsula. Ferries once ran to the surrounding areas but no public ferry transportation currently exists. Campbeltown is one of the few areas in which the Scottish language is strong, unlike most other areas where Scottish Gaelic is spoken.

Surfers can enjoy surfing off of Machrihanish. There are also many walking trails in the surrounding countryside. You can climb to Campbeltowns' standing stone and enjoy vies over the town or walk The Kintyre Way that links Tarbert to Dunaverty Bay. Golfing enthusiasts can enjoy a game at Daventry Golf club, Machrihanish Golf Club or Carradale Golf Club. The harbor is ideal for sailing and fishing. You can do sea angling or fresh water fly-fishing.

New Zealand's Favourite Events and Festivals

A festival or major event is a great excuse for a holiday and there is no better way to embark on this kind of holiday than by hiring a campervan and enjoying the motorhome experience.

New Zealand plays host to a wide range of events and festivals, offering something for all, all year round.

Whether it's the arts, music, culture, gardening or food you are interested in, New Zealand has you covered.

Here are just a few events and festivals you could easily plan a campervan holiday around:

1. Pasifika Festival

Pasifika is a celebration of Auckland's Pacific culture and puts on a spectacular show of traditional Pacific dances and shows.

Experience the culture of New Zealand as you embark on a journey of the mind, body and soul, all while enjoying a vibrant atmosphere that simply cannot be beat.

When: 13 March

Where: Auckland

2. New Zealand International Arts Festival

Featuring everything from the arts, including theatre, dance, music, writing, reading and the visual arts, the New Zealand International Arts Festival is the most celebrated festival of its kind in the country, and beyond.

Experience a wide array of free and family events, with talks and forums sure to cover something for all.

When: 26 February - 21 March

Where: Wellington

3. Auckland Lantern Festival

Chinese New Year is always a great excuse to head out and celebrate with colour, music and dance, no matter what your ethnicity or beliefs.

The Auckland Lantern Festival is a fantastic way to bring in the Chinese New Year, offering music performances, parades and traditional Chinese displays.

This is one festival you will not want to stay home for.

When: 26 February

Where: Auckland

4. Burst! Festival of Flowers

Those with green thumbs should get excited about visiting the annual Festival of Flowers in Christchurch. Hosted by New Zealand's Garden City, this garden festival celebrates everything gardens, plants and floral, focusing on gorgeous flower displays of bright and vibrant colours.

Combine the amazing garden landscapes with music, food, storytelling, photography and a tree-climbing competition and you have all the makings of a fantastic holiday rolled into one.

When: 19 February - 14 March

Where: Christchurch

5. The Parihaka International Peace Festival

Attracting peace lovers and protesters from across the world, Parihaka is rooted in a tradition of peaceful resistance, with the festival now becoming a tradition on its own.

Multiple speakers grace the stages of the festival to bring messages of peace and hope to listeners. People come together in unison through speech, music and the arts and celebrate the passive art of resistance.

When: 8 - 10 January

Where: Parihaka (south-west of New Plymouth)

6. World Buskers Festival

Home to an amazing 450 amazing live shows, the World Buskers Festival offers the perfect opportunity to support local music and to get your sound out there.

Boasting street, circus and comedy styles, this festival brings to life the culture of Christchurch and beyond and never fails to entertain.

When: 21 - 31 January

Where: Christchurch

7. Fine Food New Zealand

If food is your forte or you are simply hoping to sample some of the freshest produce around, than Fine Food New Zealand is the festival for you.

See the best chefs around at work, cook alongside them or simply volunteer to taste their efforts. Learn all about the industry and pick up a few cooking tips to take home with you or sample in your campervan kitchen.

When: 13 - 15 June

Where: Auckland Showground

Cranberry Fest and Other Festivals - Travel Bargains and Snapshots of America

Food festivals tell you a lot about people. You learn about their heritage, occupations, crafts, and hobbies. Last weekend I attended the Cranberry Fest in Eagle River, Wisconsin. For 30 years, this small town has celebrated cranberries and ways to prepare them. No wonder. Wisconsin is the top-producing cranberry state in the nation.

The festival was held on October 3rd and 4th. Organizers prepared for 40,000 visitors and, if the Saturday crowd was any indication, they had that many. Events included a cranberry pancake breakfast, fitness run, arts and crafts fair, bake sale, library used book sale, open-air antique market, quilt show, and spaghetti dinner.

According to "The Cranberry Country Crier" newspaper, the festival has "something for everyone -- an arts and crafts show with more than 300 displayers, cranberry food sales, a bakery, family fun, entertainment, sweatshirt and T-shirt sales, fitness events and more." Free shuttle bus service was available all day.

The food concessions were really crowded. Visitors could buy foot-long hot dogs, bratwurst, hamburgers, shredded pork and cranberry sandwiches, cranberry meatball sandwiches, cranberry bratwurst, cranberry chicken sandwiches, gyros sandwiches, cream puffs, cheese curds, soda, milk, cranberry juice, cocoa and coffee. Stands also sold fresh cranberries and dried cranberries.

Many food festivals have live music and the Eagle River festival is no exception. EnRoute Music with Bill Stevens played on Saturday and Sunday. "Their 'easy on the ears' approach and musical diversity make them a favorite with young and old alike," notes "The Cranberry Country Crier."

The world's largest cranberry cheesecake -- 140 feet long -- with a buttery graham cracker crust and cranberry topping, was another attraction. Proceeds from cheesecake sales go to the Make a Wish Foundation. For me, the highlight of the festival was the sevan dollar tour of the cranberry marsh and Three Lakes Winery.

I hopped on a shuttle and took it to the Chamber of Commerce, where I boarded another bus for the tour. The drive to the bog, actually the Tamarack Flowage, took about 10 minutes. The bus drove out into the bog and a guide told us how cranberries were planted and harvested. Deer love cranberries and attempts to scare them with car lights and loud sounds were futile, so a two-mile fence was installed along the perimeter of the flowage.

Then the bus us to the Three Lakes Winery, which is housed in an old, and very charming, railroad depot. I tasted cranberry wine, cranberry-pomegranate wine, and cheese with cranberries. The winery gift shop had an array of cranberry items, including jelly, hand lotion, baking mixes, and wine glasses.

Food festivals are more enjoyable if you parepare for them. First, look on the Website and print out the festival map. Check the site for events that require reservations or tickets. Dress in layers because weather can change quickly. Bring hand sanitizer, bottled water, and small bills and change with you. If you think you will buy something, bring a shopping bag, too.

Though the summer festival season is over, many states are having fall festivals. Food festivals aren't just snapshots of America, they are the heart of this vast nation, an array of regional cuisines, crafts, and customs. Check the Internet for more information on these inexpensive festivals. You'll have lots of fun for little dough!

Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson

Bali Annual Arts Festival

Balinese culture is famous for its bright festivals and thriving traditional art forms. The Balinese people have a fierce pride in their traditional culture, and every year hundreds of festivals are put on to celebrate and revitalise it. One of the biggest cultural events of the year is the annual Bali Art Festival. Balinese art revolves around dance, so the focus of the festival is on the many different forms of traditional dance. You can also enjoy music, theatre, parades, and of course the famous elaborate costumes that dancers wear, which are like an art in themselves.

The festival starts in the villages and each village has unique practices and activities. Groups are elected to represent each village in the festival, and they are responsible for organising a brilliant performance which will represent their local traditions and bring pride to their ancestors. All these groups come together for the Arts Festival which lasts for a full month in the capital city of Denpasar.

The festival starts off with a big parade in which all the villages introduce themselves, and culminates with the Colossal Dance Drama - an event that any visitor would be sorry to miss. In between, there are different performances every day, so there is a wide variety of shows to see.

Balinese dance is not simply about moving to music- it always tells a story. Movements are carefully coordinated to act out ancient folklore, Buddhist stories, legends, and fables. These dances can be considered a sort of moving theatre, where the dancers' faces and bodies exhibit the stories. They involve intricate costumes that are brightly coloured and covered in beautiful gold adornments. These can be quite heavy and difficult to dance in, but they provide an amazing spectacle for the audience. Due to the strong influence of tradition in modern Balinese life, these shows are as popular with locals as they are with tourists - even though every local has seen the dances hundreds of times and know the stories by heart.

Bali has done a wonderful job of preserving its cultural practices in the face of tourism. The Ministry for Culture set up dance and music schools all over the island to keep the ancient practices from dying out with globalisation and urbanisation. Bali is one of the best places to see truly exotic and authentic cultural displays. In fact, its festivals are so internationally popular that tourism energises and supports local traditions rather than weakening them.

Zany Oregon Festivals

The word "festival" was first recorded as a noun in 1589. Initially, the word had been used to describe church holidays. Today, however, the word festival denotes many different types of celebrations. In southern Oregon, that can mean a variety of themes. From an October glass blowing festival to an Oregon coast chowder feast--and every kind of celebration in between. The common bond is that all southern Oregon's festivals seek to provide entertainment. And that's exactly what they all deliver.

Southern Oregon's cities and tourism bureaus are often the sponsors of these unique-to-Oregon festivals. Food, music, and art celebrations seem to dominate the "fests" scene but even boats and children get in on the action. It appears that there is no theme too small or too narrowly niched to appeal to the masses of humanity who continue to clamor for lively southern Oregon entertainment options.

Cleverly named festivals abound. Names like "Art Along the Rogue" and "Art in Bloom" are both festivals that offer attendees a mixture of local artists selling their creations and encouragement in bringing out each attendee's inner artist. Food festivals such as Florence, Oregon's "Chowder, Blues & Brews" celebrate the local coastal clams and pair that bivalve food option with Oregon Blues musicians and micro-brews. Two food/wine festivals that are relatively new on the fests scene but are quickly becoming popular are the "Oregon Chocolate Festival" in Ashland and the "World of Wine Festival" in Gold Hill.

Music is also a prevalent festival theme. Medford Jazz Festival and the famous Britt Festival located in Jacksonville, Oregon draw music lovers from all over the United States.

Perhaps the most famous of southern Oregon's festival is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). Located in Ashland, OSF offers world-class plays from February through October each year and lures theatre lovers from literally around the world. In 2010, while other art venues were feeling the pinch of the recession, OSF's ticket sales actually grew by several percentage points. This positive economic indicator shows what a powerhouse a well-run festival can become.

Southern Oregon's many annual festivals celebrate the seasons, different cultures, foods, wines, agriculture, and even vintage cars and boat racing. For a nearly complete listing of southern Oregon festivals, go to:

McKinney Arts and Jazz Festival

Early this morning police were blocking off the streets that lead to the McKinney Texas town square. Signs said special event today. Driving around the backroads I saw lots of tents in the street and people running around with hammers and nails and various wares. I managed to slip into a parking place that had been overlooked before anyone else took it. I walked down the street to the square and even before I got to the square I encountered balloons and bubbles, people eating breakfast on the sidewalk. Wondering what was going on, I kept going till I spied a poster in a store window, Art and Jazz Festival.

Oh so that's what this is all about, I thought. Great! I thought, I love art and I love Jazz. I wondered when the music would start. I strolled around the square peeking into the tents where vendors were busily displaying their products to their best advantage. They mostly ignored me, for it was before 10:00am, the official starting time of the festival. I wandered around to the south side of the square. I noticed a musician holding an acoustic bass and I asked a man sitting on a bench when the music was supposed to start. He said 10:00am and that started an animated conversation.

He told me, when they start playing I'm going to get down and punctuated it with his rendition of the twist. I'm not very good at guessing ages but this man had to be at least 70. A much younger policeman walking by said that if he got down, he'd never get back up. I had to laugh at the old codger who was more more excited and enthusiastic than a person half his age. He invited me to sit on his bench. How could I resist, however, I had to leave before the band ever began to play and I never did see the old man "get down." I'm going back tonight and if he is still there I'm sure he will still be "getting down", and I will be cheering him on.

Exploring Huddersfield - Music and Arts

Huddersfield as a town offers a wealth of opportunity for musical and cultural exploration.From a cultural point of view Huddersfield's strong creative arts and music tradition is displayed through a series of top class events both modern and classical. The Festival of Light which is held in winter time and bring internationally renowned street theatre to the town. The show feature's Theatre Tol from Belgium, who have entranced audiences across the world with their airborne operatic shows.

Drawing its inspiration from the Caribbean, the Huddersfield Carnival provides a medium through which local communities can develop and display their talents in costume design, music, dance and drama. The arts festival is multi-venue and has a core programme of Visual Arts, Opera, Music, Drama and Fashion and runs in September.

If you like brass bands then there are few if any with a bigger reputation then The Brighouse and Rastick Band. They are regarded by many as the best and most consistent 'public subscription band' in the world. In its time the majority of premier band championships have been held by 'Briggus' whilst the band has also attracted a formidable reputation for highly entertaining concerts for both the general public and brass band connoisseur.

The Lawrence Batley Theatre, whilst also being the hub for the international and unique Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, is a melting pot of creativity and attracts local artists, groups and organisations. The Huddersfield Choral Society has an international reputation as the UK's leading choral society, producing a unique and thrilling full-bodied 'Huddersfield Sound' from over 200 voices.

The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival which is regarded as the UK's largest international festival of new and experimental music.

The Mrs Sunderland Festival has expanded vastly so that it now covers nine days. As well as an extensive range of vocal solo classes, there are classes for adult and junior choirs, piano, brass, woodwind, recorder, strings and percussion, as well as school orchestras and bands. There is also a Speech and Drama section which includes solo verse-speaking, prepared reading, solo and group dramatic classes and poetry-writing. It is affiliated to the British & International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech.

The Shepley Spring Festival is tucked away amongst the rolling meadows of the Pennine fringe just to the south of Huddersfield. The village of Shepley plays host to one of the most talked about festivals on the folk music calendar and its reputation grows each year as one of the friendliest, most exciting and vibrant musical events in the country. The temporary festival site offers concerts, dances, street theatre and dance displays, trade and craft markets and an expanding programme of youth and children's activities.

Huddersfield is also a haven of multi-cultural restaurants and offers great opportunities to explore other aspects of Huddersfield life. It has great sporting traditions with its Rugby League and Football teams and also boasts some stunning Victorian architecture.

Huddersfield is a hidden gem in West Yorkshire and is definitely worth a visit.