The sun shone at Hay-on-Wye during the 36th Hay Festival



The sun shone at Hay-on-Wye, during the 36th Hay Festival, outside the famous book town, and there was plenty to enjoy for everyone during the half-term break, right up until Sunday 4 June.

The site was free to enter, with gardens to enjoy, food and drink stalls, exhibitors sold everything from on-trend utility clothing to homeware, jewellery, soywax candles and ceramics, plus of course the ever-popular Shepherds ice cream. Children had the chance to meet their favourite authors, including Cressida Cowell, Liz Pichon and The Brothers McLeod, and hear about a year in Moominvalley. The Make & Take tent welcomed 3–11-year-olds to try their hand at different crafts and the Festival Bookshop had a wide range of children’s books.

Teens had the opportunity to meet YA authors such as Sita Brahmachari, who has a new YA novel When Shadows Fall (a story of disaffected youth and the vulnerability of teenage years). Daniel Morden presented creepy tales for older children and brave adults. Hip hop artist and poet Karl Nova delivered an energetic freestyle performance, and Connor Allen, current Children’s Laureate Wales, presented a lively and interactive poetry event featuring poems from his new collection, Miracles.

Expert creators were on site running illustration and broadcasting workshops, and the evenings were taken over with comedy and music. Later that week guest appearances from Tara Maclean, Sam Lee, The Proclaimers, West African musician N’famady Kouyaté and Ukrainian ska ensemble Zhadan and the Dogs visited the festival.

PLUS, more big names visited such as Dua Lipa and Stormzy. Stormzy said “It all started with books for me and as a kid in school, I fell in love with literature and it sparked a life-long journey with words and writing, which led into my career as a songwriter and a musician. ”   Stormzy was excited to pass on his passion at the Hay Festival and inspire the next generation of storytellers.

Welsh comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean hosted the Friday night comedy club featuring the wonderfully offbeat Toussaint Douglass, Edinburgh award-winner Sam Campbell and “furiously funny” (Guardian) Jen Brister;  Comedian, writer and activist Mark Thomas and three Palestinian comics – Alaa Shehada, Diana Swity and Hanna Shammas – performed stand-up; and Dara Ó Briain presented his new show, So…Where Were We?

Sustainability was core to Hay Festival, both in the events that were programmed and in the running of the Festival itself. Each morning, public workshops focused on seeking solutions. Everyone was able participate, with the goal of creating a draft playbook for practical action that everyone from policy makers to activists, corporations to sole traders, could take forward and support to achieve meaningful change for us all.

The BBC were back with live radio and TV shows in the Marquee, all were free to attend. Stand-up comedian Robin Morgan attempted to write a routine with the crowd to explore the complexities of writing live comedy. Archers fans were treated, when the stars read through a dramatic episode. And script editor and chair of the Royal Television Society Wales Ed Russell talked about Champion, the new BBC One prime time drama described as a love letter to Black family and Black music penned by Candice Carty-Williams (author of Queenie).


For more highlights from the event visit


Photo Credit:  Adam Tatton-Reid