The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is an annual literature festival held in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales, for ten days from May to June. Devised by Norman and Peter Florence in 1988, the festival was described by Bill Clinton in 2001 as "The Woodstock of the mind". Tony Benn said: "In my mind it's replaced Christmas". Florence continues to be director of the Festival.
Hay-on-Wye was already well known for its many bookshops before the festival was launched. Richard Booth opened his first shop there in 1962, and by the 1970s Hay had gained the nickname "The Town of Books". From its inception, the festival was held at a variety of venues around Hay, including the local Primary School, until 2005 when it moved to a central location just outside the town.
The Guardian was the main sponsor of the festival from 2002 to 2010, succeeding The Sunday Times. The Daily Telegraph and its associated brands in Telegraph Media Group are the current 3-year sponsors, starting with the 2011 festival. The New York Times is currently a sponsor, along with the Telegraph and many non-media companies such as Cardiff University and the British Council.
The festival has expanded over the years to include musical performances and film previews. A children's festival, "Hay Fever", runs alongside the main festival. It has also expanded internationally and sister festivals take place in Nairobi, Dhaka, Zacatecas, The Maldives, Kerala at Thiruvananthapuram, Beirut, Belfast, Cartagena, the Alhambra Palace, Parc Prison in Bridgend and Segovia. In 2009 Hay Festival also took on the ailing Brecon Jazz Festival. It is run by a not-for-profit company, and entrance is free to students.
The Hay Festival was one of 11 Welsh winners of The Queen's Awards for Enterprise for 2009. The 2009 festival included writers Carol Ann Duffy, David Simon, Stephen Fry, David Nicholls, Jenny Valentine and Melvyn Bragg, scientists Martin Rees and Sabine Bahn, economists Anthony Giddens, Nicholas Stern, Howard Davies and Danny Quah, comedians Dylan Moran, Dara Ó Briain and Sandi Toksvig, and general speakers David Frost, Desmond Tutu, Rowan Williams and Rhodri Morgan.
The 2012 festival included writers Martin Amis, Jung Chang, Louis de Bernières, Mark Haddon, Mario Vargas Llosa, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, Michael Morpurgo, Ben Okri, Ian Rankin, Salman Rushdie, Owen Sheers, Jeanette Winterson, comedians Bill Bailey, Rob Brydon, Julian Clary, Jack Dee, Tim Minchin, politicians Peter Hain and Boris Johnson, scientists John D. Barrow, Martin Rees, Simon Singh, and general speakers Harry Belafonte, William Dalrymple, Stephen Fry, A.C. Grayling, Germaine Greer, Michael Ignatieff, and David Starkey.
Sessions at the Hay Festival have been recorded for television and radio programmes such as The Readers' and Writers' Roadshow and The One Show. All the BBC's national radio channels apart from Radio One have been involved in broadcasting from the festival, and Sky Arts showed highlights of the festival from 2010 until 2013, handing over the main coverage to the BBC for the 2014 event.
|Images from the 2016 Hay Festival|
|Hay Festival 2016|
- Hide, Will (2007-01-20). "The world this week: find 'the Woodstock of the mind'". The Times (London). Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "20 facts about Hay-on-Wye and its famous festival". BBC News. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "BBC to broadcast Hay Festival on radio, TV, and online". 1 May 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Thomas, Huw (29 May 2014). "Hay-on-Wye: A town of books or festivals?". BBC News. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Staff writer (2005-05-27). "Stars gathering for Hay Festival". BBC News Online. Retrieved 2007-01-25.
- Singh, Anita (2010-10-29). "Telegraph signs deal to sponsor the Hay Festival of literature". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "Sponsors - Hay Festival". Hay Festival. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "Hay Festival wins business honour". BBC. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2016-04-28.