The story of the Hay Festival

Hay Festival – the world’s leading arts and literature event – turns 30 this spring (25th May to 4th June) with a packed programme of events for all ages to inspire, examine and entertain in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

Dreamt up around a kitchen table in Hay-on-Wye in 1987, the festival is now truly global. 30 years later, their unique blend of exacting conversation and entertainment for all ages has travelled to 30 locations, from the historic beachside town of Cartagena de Indias to the heart of the cities of Arequipa and Segovia.

This year’s festival in Wales will be the biggest ever, with Nobel Prize-winners and novelists, scientists and politicians, historians and musicians meeting in the picturesque “town of books” to talk with thousands of readers. The festival opens with two special days of free programming for schools, followed by 10 full days of discussions, performances and readings, complimented by a vibrant programme of HAYDAYS events for young people.

The town itself will also join the celebrations. Nestled on the banks of the River Wye and beneath the stunning Black Mountains, Hay-on-Wye boasts a castle, craft market, over 30 bookshops, luxury camping, beautiful B+Bs, an independent cinema, and the famed Shepherds’ sheep milk ice cream.

While much has changed for the festival over the years – it started life in the Town Hall and now resides in a special tented village on the River Wye filled with its own bookshops, cafes and exhibition spaces – it’s philosophy remains the same.

Director of Hay Festival Peter Florence said: “We celebrate our 30th in the same way we first began – with a conversation. We invite everyone to join us with an open mind and we’ll reimagine the world!”

The full programme will be available online from March at To book tickets visit the website or call the box office on 01497 822 629.

* Lead image credit: Hay Festival 2016 – Caitlin Moran – photo by Marsha Arnold

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