The Hay Festival runs from the last bank holiday weekend in May for 10 days. Over the years it has hosted various big names from all walks of life. Even President Clinton appeared during his pension raising European tour. There have been important clerics, politicians, activists and Hollywood stars. However the core reason for its existence being writers still remains at the fore. They cover every topic in fiction and fact and there is bound to be something for everyone.
It has certainly grown over the years from a humble gathering of ladies in a caravan to the event of today greeting over 100,000 visitors to 6 main venues and numerous trade stands and the largest temporary bookshop. The Oxfam bookstall sells thousands of second hand and end of print new books covering every topic.
In addition there is a special childrens programme and area for them to ‘make and take’ a treasured memory.
There is a large food hall showcasing local producers and various other places for food and refreshments. The town is just a short shuttlebus ride from the site or easily walkable if you prefer.
As part of the Hay Festival charitable organisation there are school days. On the Thursday for primary children and Friday for secondary schools. All the schools have to do is get the children there and then the wide ranging talks are free to enter. It is quite a sight to see 1,500 young children eagerly waiting to hear a favourite author. Who says that reading real books is on the decline?
In the evening the site takes on a different atmosphere as concerts and comedians take to the stage. Many people return year after year as there will always be something new to hear.