Hay Site Build Under Way – Aerial View


Aerial HayWith just 24 days to go until the start of the Hay Festival the site build is well under way.  Here’s an aerial shot of the site on the outskirts of the town.  As you can see the site at Dairy Meadows is sizeable in comparison to the  town centre, the triangular area – below and left of the centre of the image (click image to enlarge).   Hay Castle sits just below the main car park. The festival has been held at a variety of venues around Hay, including the local Primary School. This is the tenth year that it has been at the Dairy Meadows location. 

2014 Booking Opens at 10pm Tonight

The full 2014 Hay Festival programme has now been published and booking opens to the general public at 10pm tonight, Wednesday 9th April.  The Festival runs over 11 days from Thursday 22 May until Sunday 1 June and the final event at 8pm on June 1 is Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to Modern Living.

There are over 450 sessions to choose from.  Tickets are on-line here from 10pm tonight or from the Box Office on 01497 822 629. Box office opening hours are 9am–5pm Monday to Friday and later and at weekends from 1 May.  Events are ticketed individually so you will need to buy a ticket or tickets for those you wish to attend although a few are free (but you should still reserve a ticket).  Entry to the Hay Festival site is free to all, so everyone can walk around the site and take in the atmosphere.

Over 100 Names Revealed for the Hay Festival

Yesterday Hay Festival sponsor The Telegraph revealed well over 100 names for the 2014 Hay Festival. Here’s the full list so far. Expect to see the full programme in the next 24 hours.


2.30pm – Michael Rosen

3.45pm – Philip Lymbery

5pm  – Mary Berry

6.15pm – Antonio Carluccio

Tbc –  Brian May and Denis Pellerin

7.45pm- Billy Bragg and Roy Bailey

Tbc  – Al Murray talks to James Holland followed by live stand-up.



11.30am – Peter Snow

1pm – Richard Dawkins talks to Joan Bakewell

Tbc – Matthew d’Ancona

Tbc – Edmund White talks to Damian Barr

2.30pm – Tony Fadell talks to Stephen Fry

Tbc -Tristram Hunt

Tbc – Cherie Booth and Hilary Heilbron

4pm – Jennifer Saunders talks to Francine Stock

Tbc – Charles Moore talks to Damian Barr

7pm – Carrie Fisher talks to William Sieghart

9:45pm – Mark Rylance and Paul Kingsnorth



10am – Alan Johnson talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

11.30am – Trevor Fishlock

1pm – Mervyn King

2.30pm – Jeremy Paxman

4pm – Simon Singh

7pm – Simon Schama

8.30pm – Phyllida Law



10am – Steve Jones

11.30am – Jung Chang talks to Razia Iqbal

2.30pm – Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Tbc – David Owen.

4pm – PJ O’Rourke

Tbc- Ffion Hague

7pm – Peter Oborne talks to Sarfraz Manzoor



10am – Simon Schama, Philippe Sands & Barbara Winton talk to Alan Yentob

2.30pm – Sebastian Faulks

Tbc – Tom Holland

4pm – Anthony Giddens

Tbc – William Dalrymple

5.30pm – Toni Morrison talks to Peter Florence

Tbc – Roy Strong and Clive Boursnell

7pm – Alfred Brendel talks to Clemency Burton-Hill

Tbc – Ruby Wax



10am – Ken Thompson

Tbc – Jo Bell and Libby Purves talk to Mark Skipworth

11.30am – Robin Hesketh

2.30pm – Diana Henry and Anna Jones talk to Rosie Boycott

Tbc – Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke

4pm – Paddy Ashdown

5.30pm – Lynda La Plante talks to Sarah Crompton

Tbc – David Edgar

7pm – Jonathan Yeo

Tbc – Philip Ball

8.30pm – Nicolas Roeg talks to Francine Stock

9.45pm – Frank Skinner live



11.30am – Richard Evans

Tbc – Peter Atkins

1pm – Bear Grylls

Tbc – Hew Strachan talks to Richard Norton-Taylor

2:30pm The Telegraph Question Time: The World Cup with  Sir Geoff Hurst, Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa and Alan Smith

4pm – Emile Simpson talks to Richard Norton-Taylor

5.30pm – Michael Morpurgo and Rae Smith

Tbc – Graham Robb

Tbc – Chris Tarrant

7pm – Jonathan Miller talks to Revel Guest

Tbc – Vicky Pryce, Erwin James & others

8.30pm – Sol Campbell talks to Jasper Rees

Tbc – Marcus Brigstocke



10am – Benedict Brogan, Guto Harri and Fiona Phillips

Tbc – John Swenson-Wright

1pm – Michael Morpurgo talks to Peter Florence

Tbc – David Crystal

2.30pm – Margaret MacMillan

4pm – Robert Harris

Tbc – Simon Thurley

5.30pm – Anthony Horowitz, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Phil Rickman talk to SJ Parris

Tbc – Sir Lawrence Freedman

7pm – Simon Jenkins



11.30am – Niall Ferguson

Tbc – Irving Finkel

Tbc – Lucy Hughes-Hallett

1pm – Tom Hollander, James Woods & Jon Canter

2.30pm – Tim Hunt talks to Roger Highfield

Tbc – Patrick Bishop talks to Con Coughlin

4pm – Bryony Gordon

5.30pm – Max Hastings

Tbc – Lorrie Moore and Joshua Ferris

7pm – Arianna Huffington

8:30pm – Julie Burchill talks to Katie Glass



11.30am – Jenni Agutter, Heidi Thomas & Pippa Harris

Tbc – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks to Ted Hodgkinson

1pm – Steve Coogan and Stephen Frears talk to Alan Yentob

Tbc – Helen Fielding talks to Peter Florence

5:30pm – Judi Dench talks to Richard Eyre

8.30pm – Bill Bailey


(Tbc means that the time of this session is to be conformed)

Ben Watt, Lord King and Toumani Diabaté

Ben MervynToumani

Ahead of the official announcement of the Hay Festival programme later this month we have the names of three individuals appearing who epitomise the breadth of ground that the festival covers.

The former Bank of England Governor, Mervyn Allister King, Baron King of Lothbury, will be making his first appearance at Hay after stepping down as Governor last year.  Ben Watt, DJ, author and one half of ‘Everything But the Girl, will be reading from Romany and Tom a memoir about his parents; Tommy Watt a working-class Glaswegian jazz musician and Romany Bain a RADA-trained Shakespearian actress.   It’s a book described in The Guardian by Alex Petridis as “funny, incredibly moving, beautifully written and really thought-provoking.”  Ben will appear at the Festival on Saturday 24 May.

The following day you can catch Toumani Diabaté performing live with his son Sidiki on the kora a 21-string bridge-harp used widely to performing the traditional music of Mali, home to the Tounami and Sidiki.  They will feature music from their collaboration ‘Toumani & Sidiki’ the first real offering from the Malian since his 2010 Grammy Award winning collaboration with the late Ali Farka Touré which had been recorded several years before. Toumani Diabaté gave a memorable performance at Hay in 2010. It’s great to see him back.

Book Now – A Tent Made for Hay

Fully Booked

As the popularity of the Hay Festival has grown and the accommodation in this quiet market town on the Welsh English border has remained static, so more and more visitors are sleeping beneath the stars, or at least under canvas.

Now a British firm has created a tent that’s perfect for the occasion. For big fans of books and fans of big books tent maker Field Candy has created a tent called ‘ Fully Booked’ that looks just like a gargantuan paperback.   Unlike most books the flysheet is 100% waterproof and fire retardant.  There are now plenty of places close to the festival site where you can book a spot to pitch your tome.  At £395 (more info here) it’s not the cheapest tent (or book) on the market, but you do land accommodation that marks you out as a book lover amongst book lovers.  You might even find a second-hand copy somewhere.