The Hay Festival is an annual festival that celebrates great literature. Held in Hay-On-Wye (hence the name), this small market town is known for its many bookshops. They have so many bookshops, in fact, that it gained the nickname “The Town of Books”. The Festival has directly generated £83 million in Hay-On-Wye's economy between 2009-2019. This isn’t hard to believe, with the festival being a great day out for both adults and children. Besides the great speakers that attend, there are plenty of stalls to visit, the village green to relax on and, most importantly, plenty of food and drink to enjoy!
Usually, this small-town festival has a big audience, with around 275,000 tickets sold. It’s even expanded across the world, with festivals held in countries such as Mexico, Peru, Croatia and Spain. However, things this year are a little different, so instead of cancelling they’ve moved the whole festival online.
Until the 30th May, Hay Festival Digital will be hosting free live broadcasts and interactive Q&A’s. You’ll need to register here, which will allow you not only to watch the content but ask questions and leave comments. To see the full programme, please see their website. There is a massive line up of many well-known authors and big names such as Helena Bonham Carter, Sandi Toksvig, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margaret Atwood and Stephen Fry.
Alongside the main festival, Hay Festival have organised a programme for schools to help your children learn from home. From 8am each day until the 22nd May, you can see two primary (years 3-6) authors two secondary (years 7-10) authors. These events will be available to watch again on Hay Player (which requires a subscription), and you can browse our selection of teaching materials to support learning before, during and after the festival. This means that even if you can’t tune into the event live, you won’t miss out!
The festival has a great history; did you know that both Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, both former US presidents, have attended the events? Bill Clinton even called it “The Woodstock of the Mind”. It used to be held at the local primary school before the festival grew into what it is today.
Whether this is your first time or your 30th time, make sure to take part in the festival this year! What’s your all-time favourite book and why?