Q: My wife and I would like to plan a musical tour of the U.K. this year. I would specifically like to tie in a major jazz event and a folk festival. Any suggestions?
A: For stellar jazz, two big festivals are held in Scotland and England. Scotland's Glasgow Jazz Festival (011-44-141-552-3552, www.jazzfest.co.uk) includes international jazz and blues musicians performing at a variety of venues throughout the city. Many of the concerts for the June 17-26 event are free. In England, the Cheltenham International Jazz Festival (011-44-124-223-7377, www.cheltenhamfestivals.co.uk) from April 28 to May 2 usually draws big names in worldwide jazz. Cheltenham is about 1 1/2 hours west of London.
Folk festivals include Scotland's Newcastleton Traditional Music Festival (www.newcastleton.com; 011-44-145-037-7165) on July 1-3 and the Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod (011-44-197-886-2000, www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk), held July 5-10 in northeastern Wales.
The Newcastleton event, which takes place a few miles north of the English border, is one of Scotland's oldest traditional music festivals. The Eisteddfod is also a historic festival, with musical competitions, but in drama, fine art, poetry and folk music.
Running Aug. 14 to Sept. 3, the acclaimed Edinburgh International Festival (011-44-131-473-2001, www.eif.co.uk) features dance, music, opera and theater performances.
Not many big folk festivals run concurrently with the jazz events. The Web site of Visit Britain (800-462-2748, www.visitbritain.com), the official tourism agency, has a search engine in which you punch in your dates of travel to get listings of festivals. The events' Web sites include ticketing info.
Q: Is there a way to get tickets to a Madrid bullfight in advance?
A: Madrid's bullfighting season at the arena Las Ventas runs through October. One ticketing agent recommended by the Tourist Office of Spain is Localidades Galicia (011-34-91-531-9131, www.eol.es/lgalicia).
Prices are determined by location in the bullring, namely whether you prefer sun (sol) or shade (sombra). General admission seats start around $15; the best seats usually don't exceed $75, unless there's a major festival, or the Michael Jordan of bullfighting is the top matador of the day.
Most bullfights do not sell out. If you arrive early, you can buy from the box office, which would save you surcharges that agencies tacks on. Avoid buying from the street touts near the bullring on the day of the event; these Spanish scalpers are known for charging more than the face value by claiming the bullfight is sold out.
More info: Tourist Office of Spain, (212) 265-8822, www.okspain.org.
-- Washington Post