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Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts

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. The Hay Festival itself was founded around a kitchen table in 1987 and continues to attract the most exciting writers, filmmakers, comedians, politicians and musicians to inspire, delight and entertain.

Hay Festival has brought together writers from around the world to debate and share stories at its festival in the staggering beauty of the Welsh Borders. Hay celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking. The exchange of views and meeting of minds that the festivals create inspire revelations personal, political and educational. Hay is, in Bill Clinton's phrase, 'The Woodstock of the mind'.

This year the line-up is as wonderful as ever including the singer/songwriter Jake Bugg, comedians such as Dara O’Briain, Russell Kane and the stand-up specialist, Jeremy Hardy. Not to be missed is David Baddiel’s very successful one-man show and there is lots of diversity with acts like Les Amazons d’Afrique – a group of West African musicians and the famous Hackney Colliery Band. A stand out feature is going to be the group of improvisers – Marcus Brigstocke, Rachel Parris, Pippa Evans and Paul Foxcroft. This is just to name a few – the choice is so wide that there is something for every taste.

A special feature of the Hay Festival is their attention and interest in children and young people with more workshops and entertainments than ever for families with children to enjoy. Of course Hay on Wye is located with wonderful country on its doorstep for all sorts of outdoor pursuits so it’s well worth coming to stay in the area and make a real holiday of it!


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