‘Boast Your Roast’ Pops Up for First Time at Hay

Update: Boast Your Roast has tweeted “sad news, we’ve had to pull out of Hay festival….but we’ll be back with this amazing combo soon…”

There will be a new ‘pop up’ restaurant launching at the Hay Festival. ‘Boast Your Roast’ will serve up locally sourced food in a bespoke tent with 100 covers in the Pennard Orchard campsite which is a 5 minute walk from the festival site.

It promises to be an upmarket affair with the kitchen run by 2010 Masterchef finalist Matt Edwards (St. John, Hix) along with Christine Veronez (Cellar de Can Roca/Roca Brothers, Barcelona).  The Maitre’D will be Elizabeth Tomes  of Vinopolis.

Lunchtime fare will include a charcuterie board of locally smoked meats and pints of prawns served with aioli.  The main event will take place in the evenings with spit roast suckling pig, Welsh salt marsh lamb, Herefordshire beef and original seasonal vegetarian options on the menu.

10 Tips for Last Minute Hay Festival Accommodation

The 25th Hay Festival is still six weeks away. If you’ve had your appetite whetted by the programme of events and decided to make the trip to the Welsh/English border town in June you will no doubt be aware that accommodation for the festival is already a very rare commodity.  In fact hotels, barns and B&Bs are often booked a year or even two in advance. It can also be expensive but that’s the law of supply and demand and there are always ways to do Hay on a budget too.

So here is our guide to finding a place to stay.

1. Rooms do come onto the market even at the last-minute. The best way to find one is via the bedfinder service.  For £10, they will match up visitors with places to stay as they become available.

2. Look further out – if you are prepared to make the journey (about 45 minutes) Hereford hotels often have rooms still available at late notice and there’s a regular shuttle bus. Lea House a B&B near Ross on Wye has rooms at the time of posting http://www.leahouse.co.uk/

3. Pitch a tent.  There are a number of camp-sites where you can pitch for just a few pounds a night.

Tangerine Fields Camping


Wye Meadow Camping


The Radnor Arms


4. There’s a swathe of up-market camping opportunities to from ridge tents to yurts and rigid podules:

Pennard Orchard


Blue Bell Tents

Yurt Events


Podules at Baskerville Hall Hotel

Hotel Bell Tent

5. Try the section on accommodation on the Hay-on-Wye tourist information site www.hay-on-wye.co.uk.

6. Check websites for cancellations.  Shrub Cottage, on the Brecon Cottages site became available a few days ago.  Sugar and Loaf also has some properties still.

7. Follow the #hayfestival hash tag on twitter. Some B&Bs, hotels and owners now post availability via their twitter accounts.

8. Try the accommodation section of the Hay Festival Forum.

9. The fringe HowTheLightGetsIn Festival also has camping.  Nothing to stop you staying there.  The festival is worth a visit too.

10. Finally, Emma Balch may have some last minute accommodation…. she bought, gutted, and is completely renovating Pottery Cottage in Clyro, formerly the home of Adam Dworski of Wye Pottery.  It has one spacious room with double bed, and ensuite bathroom and a mezzanine above the main room. It may be at a lower rate if not all the details are finished, or at a higher rate if it’s totally ready, and she won’t know that until the last minute!  Follow her progress here.

Tom Watson and Martin Hickman “Dial M for Murdoch”

Labour MP  Tom Watson and Independent journalist Martin Hickman will be at the Hay Festival on June 3rd to talk to Barrister Helen Kennedy about their new book on the phone-hacking scandal that has rocked the British establishment.  The book called “Dial M for Murdoch” is published this week by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books.

The work covers the Leveson enquiry and the furore around privacy and the media the media. It will explore the actions of the Metropolitan Police and the involvement of News Corporation and the News of the World. The hard-hitting subtitle is ‘News Corporation and the corruption of Britain’.

The book is published ahead of a long-awaited official report by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on which Tom Watson sits as one of its highest profile members.  “I have a hunch it will be one of the most attacked books this year” says Watson.



William Boyd to Pen New James Bond Novel

William Boyd will be at Hay to talk to Peter Florence on Sunday 10 June about his new novel ‘Waiting for Sunrise’ a story of passion and deception set in Vienna and wartime London.  The novel has had rave reviews many foreshadowing his selection by the Ian Fleming estate to write the new Bond novel.

“Boyd’s novel is an homage to thriller writers, spy novels and crime detection”  The Independent and “An intricately plotted world of spies, lies and the double cross …Waiting for Sunrise proves that rarest of beasts: a tantalisingly experimental work that is also an immensely satisfying page turner” The Sunday Telegraph.

Questions will no doubt turn to the news that the author of Any Human Heart and Restless will follow in the steps Jeffery Deaver and Sebastian Faulks to deliver an ‘official’ new Bond thriller.  The author is currently staying tight-lipped on the project. “The only thing I’m prepared to say at this stage about the novel that I will write is that it will be set in 1969.”

Boyd aficionados will note that in his 2002 novel Any Human Heart (2002) Bond author Ian Fleming made an appearance recruiting the central character Logan Mountstuart to the British Naval Intelligence Division during World War II.

Google Maps Easter Egg for Hay Fans

Easter may be over but there is a small treat on Google maps for fans of the Hay Festival, especially those desperate for this year’s event to get underway.  A true ‘Easter Egg’ as they are called, is deliberately hidden in a computer program, web page, film or book.  I suspect that the one we discovered on the Hay-on-Wye Google maps location is serendipitous but it is there all the same.

One of the things I love about the Google maps aerial view of Hay-on-Wye is that although the Festival’s tented village has that ‘Brigadoon’ aspect of appearing  then disappearing, the Google aerial view was taken when it was there – so in that sense it is always there.  Go to ‘street view’ however and you get the image above of the Festival entrance (on the B4350 half way between The Meadows and Victoria Cottage on the junction with the Llanigon Road).  There’s nothing but open fields.

To discover the hidden treat you must do the following:

  • Advance along the B4350 towards Victoria Cottage
  • Take the left turn at the cottage (this is unnamed but it’s in the direction of Llanigon)
  • Turn your view back to your left, towards the field that is the location of the festival site

Voila, you can see the site under construction, something in reality that is still a month away. Nice sunny day too.

New Order’s ‘Barney’ to Speak at Hay

Update 27.05.12:  Sadly  this event will now not take place.  The official reason given is that the it is due to changes in New Order’s touring schedule.  A quick look at the band’s page suggest there are no live  New Order dates between the Forbidden Fruit Festival in Dublin on 3rd June and Sonar in Spain in the middle of the month.  Bernard Sumner was due to appear in Hay on the 7th June.

Bernard Sumner, lead singer with New Order and former guitarist with Joy Division, has turned his creative talent to more literary pursuits. The musician behind Blue Monday and Love Will Tear Us Apart will appear at the Hay Festival in June to talk about his forthcoming autobiographical work ‘Sumner on Sumner’.

Writer Charlie Connelly will interview the famously private Sumner about his creative life and his work with two of the most influential bands of the last three decades. Rarely have any of the members of Joy Division and New Order given interviews, eschewing the limelight in favour of recording and performing.

The programme, revealed last week and with tickets now on sale to the public, has several big names more commonly associated with the written word. Martin Amis, Terry Pratchett, Louis de Bernieres and Ian Rankin are all on the bill.

Fry, Greer, Okri, Shriver, Amis and more for Hay 25

The proramme for the 25th annual Hay Festival was unveiled at midnight on Tuesday and as ever there is a stellar line-up.

This years eclectic mix includes Lionel Shriver author of We Need To Talk About Kevin and So Much For That, in conversation with Rosie Boycott about her new political satire set in a Portuguese backwater.  Germaine Greer talks love and sex in Shakepeare’s plays  with special reference, naturally to Romeo & Juliet.

Ever popular Stephen Fry will talk to Kay Redfield Jamison about her work on bi-polar disorder and creativity Touched with Fire.   The contemporary English literary collosi, Ian McEwan and Martin Amis will bookend the festival, appearing in the first and second weekends respectively.  The Booker Prize-winning author Ben Okri will discuss Wild  his first book of poems for over a decade.

Comedian Bill Bailey will close the Festival on Sunday 10 June with a mix of music and comedy that includes religious dubstep and folk bouzouki.  The event is billed to start at 8.27pm.  Don’t be late.

Richard Booth’s Bookshop Cinema to Open for Hay

Regular festival goers and Hay-on-Wye dwellers and visitors will be familiar with the Hay Cinema Bookshop.  The old local cinema was converted to a second-hand bookshop in 1965.   Nearly half a century later a new cinema willopen in another book store, perhaps town’s most famous, Richard Booth’s Bookshop.  In an elegant twist of fate it was Richard Booth that converted the original cinema to a bookshop, his first in Hay.

The new cinema with leather seating from Paris and boasting superb picture and sound will screen an eclectic programme of films from original silent movies, musicals, world cinema to current blockbusters.  The ‘Brook Street Cinema’ as it will be styled will also invite public suggestions for movies to schedule.  The cinema will open the week before the festival for the Hay Film School Weekend an extravaganza of screenings, Q&As and workshops.

No doubt festival goers will be given a suitably eclectic selection to complement the official programme of events.