Hay Festival – If You Love Reading, Writing, Ideas and Storytelling Then This is a Must Attend!
Visit Hay-on-Wye this summer for 11 days of International literature, wonderful authors, speakers, and live readings performers hailing from all over the world. Your Visit to the Hay Festival is guaranteed to be eye opening!
The Hay Festival is Not About Hay!
So you may be thinking that any festival called the Hay Festival is surely about hay! Well, you would be wrong—this festival just your average country festival. For years, this festival has been acting as a place to bring people with the love of literature and a passion for reading and writing from all over the globe, as well as to create an avenue of creativity and funding for new emerging authors.
Annually, the Hay Festival a few hundred authors each year from many countries across the globe. This festival sure knows how to connect the world through literature! The great thing about the Hay Festival is the desire of the festival to play an active role in changing the world through the lost art of reading and gaining knowledge. Through each festival, attendees are encouraged to pick up a book, buy several books, and maybe even try their hand at writing.
More About the Festival
Each year the Hay Festival draws in reading aficionados and knowledge seekers from all over Wales and across the world. In modern times where most people and companies don’t care about reading, writing, or any pursuit of knowledge, the Hay Festival proudly stands alone and offers eleven days dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge.
The Hay Festival very much volunteer run—each year volunteers amount to thousands of readers and writers. This fest’s well organized planning and exceptional execution is due to the countless hours volunteers spend on marketing, communication, coordinating with attendees, authors, special guests, and setting up amongst all the many things that go in festival preparation.
How to Experience the Hay Festival
Each July, thousands of people will flock to Wales to experience the best the World’s literature has to offer. If you plan to be one of them this year, it’s best to get started on planning your trip to the Hay Festival!
Start by picking which days of the festival you want to attend. Check the Hay Festival website for any scheduling information that may be specific to certain days. In my book fair experience, I have found that it is best to arrive during the earlier days so you can view all the items that are being offered. Arriving before the majority of the crowds pick over everything will give you a chance to read, look at, and purchase the best of the products before anyone else does.
Another helpful reminder for enjoying your Hay Festival experience is to be open to hearing the stories of the live authors or guest speakers. While you wander from area to area, stop to listen to story tellers and live readings. Don’t be afraid to interact with the artisans and ask questions about their work. Listen to the stories of their culture and history as this may be the first time you hear anything like it.
With so much literature and so many speakers being features at the Hay Festival, it does make sense to attend more than one day. Try going for two or three days, if you don’t go to all eleven, so you can see as much of the work and speakers as possible.
While you’re attending throughout the week, do your best to eat as many meals inside the festival as you can. This blend of some of the best local food from all over Wales is something that is almost magical to experience. It’s like you are traveling the country’s best restaurants without ever leaving the city.
Tickets and Pricing
Buy your tickets early if you’re planning on attending the Hay Festival this year. Many people the world over are interested in this unique experience. It may actually help you to dig in a little further and speak with former attendees about the best way to experience this festival. It also always helps to contact a travel agent that knows a little more about Wales to introduce you to the best deals, accommodations, and prices.
To get as much time inside the festival as possible, considering arriving a few days before it begins. Having the extra time before the festival will allow you to rest and get up your energy to read the week away!
Getting to the Hay Festival
To help attendees get to the Hay Festival as conveniently as possible, the festival offers various forms of transportation options to get guests to the event. For those of you that are flying in, be sure to contact a shuttle or bus service before hand so you can have your tickets and seats already booked.
If you plan to rent a car, parking might be limited. Visitors can park remotely and bike, bus, or take the train as well as a street car to get to the festival. Check out the Hay Festival’s website for more information regarding bus and shuttle schedules as well as the best places to park if you choose to drive.
Sights to See in Hay-On-Wye
While you’re in the city, take some time to visit other place outside of the Hay Festival. Grab a bus or rental car and take a trip into the neighboring town where the Hay Festival actually got its start. With several bookstores in the area, you will see where this iconic event has its roots. The people of Wales just love their books!
Be sure to visit Shepherd’s for a taste of the best ice cream in Wales. Take your time to get lunch at St John’s Place as you wander around the city on your meal breaks. Be sure to grab a canoe or kayak and paddle down the Wye river- it’s incredibly relaxing and meditate. Try the Hay Market for some local offerings and accessories. Be sure to explore the Hay Castle and if you’re luck, get a guided tour of the city in general.
Tips for the Hay Festival
Make sure you bring your reading glasses to this event! When you’re at the festival, do attend the interviews that are going on with various authors. Though it may seem boring at first, take some time to listen to their stories. Be sure to stop by the Sky Arts Den for some live music, poetry reading and spoken word.
Throughout all of this literary based fun, you’ll find a great selection of other entertainment like water color classes, creative writing, salsa dancing and a lot more! My tip to you is to do your best to attend at least one of everything, especially if you are staying for just a few days.
Be sure to take breaks from reading as you don’t want to tire your eyes, or brain, out. Some of the best experiences at the Hay Festival are spent hearing stories about the actual artist you have been reading about. So keep you ear open and get to exploring!
What to Bring to the Festival
When packing for the Hay Festival the first and foremost thing to consider is being comfortable! Do bring your reading glasses and your contacts! People that attend this event mostly come to dive into their books, so don’t stress too much over what you will wear.
Additionally, when dressing for this Hay Fest consider the weather. It will undoubtedly be hot—Wales in the summer is pretty much very bright and sunny. Dress wearing light clothing, but beware of the sun. Bring sunblock and enough coverage to protect your self like a sunhat, visor, bandana or other headwear. Carry a poncho or an umbrella as well as wellies as it may rain.
When thinking about what to carry in your suitcase, plan accordingly for your stay. If you’re staying the entire eleven days of the Hay Festival bring comfortable walking shoes—you’re going to need them! Take bug repellant, medicine, antacids for that festival food, and lots of water. Due to the fact that this festival is mainly outdoors, it is very likely that you may get dehydrated quickly- try to keep a water bottle on hand with you at all times. Make sure you take your family and your sense of adventure and love for all things western with you!
Whether or not you’ve attended something like this before, you are going to definitely love it at the Hay Festival!
Visit information about festivals section to explore a full list of festivals happening around the world yearly!