Hay Festival is a party of ideas and entertainment in rural Wales. Bill Clinton called it “the Woodstock of the mind”. Featuring over 600 of the world’s greatest writers, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators in 800 events across 11 days, the festival showcases the latest ideas in the arts, sciences and current affairs, alongside a rich schedule of music, comedy and entertainment for all ages. A galaxy of literary stars gather to launch new work, while the biggest ever HAYDAYS and #HAYYA programmes give young readers the opportunity to meet their heroes and get creative.
Around 250,000 tickets are sold for the festival in Wales each year, while editions also run in Spain, Colombia, Peru and Mexico, offering a platform for informed conversation and the chance for inspiration to take hold.
24 May – 3 June 2018
The festival is held in held in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales.
The festival site is free to enter with talks and performances individually ticketed from free to £40. Most are in the £5 – £15 range.
Award-winning novelists discuss their work, including big names such as Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Jilly Cooper, and Philip Pullman. Poets Tishani Doshi, Owen Sheers and Mererid Hopwood will join Margaret Atwood in a special commemoration of Armistice 100.
Conversations around internationalism, democracy and peacekeeping feature world leaders, policy makers and award-winning journalists, including political strategist Donna Brazile, Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff, Gordon Brown, David Miliband and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Gender equality and race dominate conversations on Britain today that include Rose McGowan, Laura Bates, Helen Pankhurst, Germaine Greer and Robert Webb.
The past is re-imagined by leading historians including Anthony Beevor, Helen Rappaport and Melvyn Bragg. Meanwhile, education is interrogated as Amanda Spielman discusses Ofsted and the future of education. There are also discussions around health and wellbeing, farming, sustainability, travel and the environment. Big names in travel and adventure include Bear Grylls and mountaineer Chris Bonnington.
Stars of stage and screen appear including Andrew Davies (Les Miserables), actors Jim Broadbent, Simon Russell Beale and an all-star Letters Live cast. There’s comedy from the likes of Russell Kane, Dara O’Briain and Bridget Christie, with music from Jake Bugg, Laura Mvula and Les Amazones d’Afrique.
There are various activities and talks for young people including the #HAYYA programme, which sees stars of Young Adult writing talk about their new releases and the issues facing young people today. Workshops blend creative writing, illustration, textiles, coding, dance, drumming and animation, while RSPB Cymru and Rooted Forest School take young people outdoors.