The Hay Festival 2017

It’s that time of year again for gaggles of bookworms to get their thinking caps at the ready for 11 days of thought provoking entertainment in the wonderfully independent town of Hay On Wye. This year it’s even more special, it’s the festivals 30th birthday and everyone is invited! Hay Festival Wales takes place 25 May – 4 June in Hay-on-Wye, bringing writers and readers together to share stories and ideas in events that inspire, examine and entertain. Browse the programme and buy tickets. 

Hay Festival ©

The line up is (truly) better than ever this year with some of the biggest names in showbusiness venturing into the fields of Hay-on-Wye. We’ll have an influx of world famous celebrities such as Eddie Izzard, Nick Clegg, singer Amy Mcdonald, TV personality Graham Norton, Olympian Tom Daley and even US senator Bernie Sanders will be making an appearance.

For those who are after somewhere to lay your weary head for the night, check out our accommodation pages here. 

There’s so much on it’s hard to choose but here are our predicted highlights for this year. If you’re tempted do go to the website for the full programme of events…

Thursday 25th May

7:30pm-Morgan & West
Time travelling magic duo Morgan & West present an evening chock full of jaw-dropping, brain-bursting, gasp-eliciting feats of magic. The dashing chaps offer up a plateful of illusion and impossibility, all served with wit, charm and no small amount of panache. Be sure to wear a hat – Morgan & West might just blow your mind. ‘Dazzlingly clever and very funny! Superb!’  £8.30

8:30pm –Eddie Izzard
Lecture from thoe poet, children’s writer and campaigner for literature, whose works include We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. £5

Friday 26th May

4pm-Nick Clegg talks to Matthew d’Ancona
The former Deputy Prime Minister lifts the lid on the workings and failings of the 2010–2015 coalition government, analyses the 2017 European electoral cycle, and assesses the opportunities for the liberal centre ground of politics.  £8.30

7pm-Miriam González Durántez
In this first of the Festival’s flagship 30th anniversary project sessions, the Spanish international trade lawyer re-imagines the European Union. González Durántez was previously the Middle East Adviser to the External Relations Commissioner in the European Union, having started her career as a trade negotiator at the World Trade Organisation. Chaired by Matthew d’Ancona.  £8.30

9:45pm-Amy Macdonald in concert
A Hay debut for the Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist with the achingly beautiful voice, and the lyric gift and rapturous beats that move hearts and dancing shoes. Macdonald released her debut album This Is the Life in 2007. The singles Mr Rock & Roll and This Is the Life were chart hits. Earlier in 2017 she released her album Under Stars.£26.30

Saturday 27th

11:30- Dick Vs Dom
Dick and Dom are coming back to Hay, and will be having a riot on stage with their new show Dick vs Dom where they split the crowd in half and everyone play games against one another in the audience and on stage. It’s either that or everyone will just sit in silence and have 45 mins quiet reading time together… £9.30Hay Festival ©

2:30-Peter Singer talks to Stephen Fry
The Australian writer and thinker is often described as the world’s most influential living philosopher. He is known especially for his work on the ethics of our treatment of animals, for his controversial critique of the sanctity of life ethics in bioethics, and for his writing on the obligations of the affluent to aid those living in extreme poverty. His books include Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, The Most Good You Can Do, The Life You Can Save, Famine, Affluence and Morality, and most recently Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter. He talks to the Festival president.

4PM-Ed Balls talks to Joan Bakewell
The highs and lows of life in and out of politics – from the despatch box to Strictly stage with one of Britain’s most influential and charming political figures. He’s funny, and acute about the madhouse of Parliament. Ed Balls is not currently an MP.

5:30-Tom Daley
The Olympian diving star shares what he’s learned about how to stay fit, healthy and positive. His secrets include delicious food, workouts anyone can do (he promises!) and invaluable motivational and lifestyle tips. He talks to the award-winning sports writer Carolyn Hitt. £9.30

7PM-Graham Norton talks to Viv Groskop
The actor and comedian introduces his debut novel Holding in which the loves and secrets and losses of an Irish community are exposed when human remains are found on a farm. Norton’s best-selling memoirs include The Life and Loves of a He-Devil and So Me. Sold Out.

Sunday 28th May

4pm- Jacqueline Wilson
Join Jacqueline Wilson as she introduces her new book, set in the Second World War. She will also discuss how she started her writing career and created some of her best-loved characters including Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather. There will be no book signing after this event but printed bookplates with Jacqueline’s signature will be available with every book bought in the Festival Bookshop. Age 9+  £7.30

The new show from the star of Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Have I Got News for You and Q.I. From Morris Dancing to Morrissey, Shappi is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of her arrival in Britain. She’s reclaiming patriotism and sending a love letter to her adopted land. The daughter of an exiled writer and comic from Iran, Shappi’s upbringing has been in no way conventional. From mental illness to opium dens, it’s all gone on in the Khorsandi household and now she recounts it all the only way she knows how, with wit, warmth and hilarity. £10.30

Monday 29th May

1pm- Yanis Varoufakis talks to Gillian Tett
As Greek finance minister, Varoufakis confronted the EU head-on over debt. He tells a tale of brinkmanship, hypocrisy, collusion and betrayal, and he issues an urgent call to renew European democracy.

7pm-Tristram Hunt
The new Director of the V&A explores the role of culture and curation in a world turning on a new axis, where intelligence is artificial and some pots are still priceless; where a common wealth of resources and makers can fashion global treasures.

Price: £7.30

Tuesday 30th May

5:30PM-Brian May-QUEEN IN 3-D
A unique opportunity to share the guitarist’s 46-year vision of his fellow band members, Freddie Mercury, John Deacon, Roger Taylor, as well as Brian himself backstage, on tour and onstage, captured here in 3-D stereoscopic photographs.

3-D glasses will be provided. Website –   £30.30

Wednesday 31st May

5:30pm- Michael Parkinson-MUHAMMAD ALI: A MEMOIR
In conversation with his son Mike, his producer, the peerless interviewer recounts his meetings with some of the world’s most extraordinary cultural figures on his television show Parkinson; in particular, he recalls the notable Muhammad Ali interviews, which form the basis of his latest book.  £15.30

9:30pm-Will Young and the Jazz Quintet
Following on from the release of Summer Covers, an eclectic mix of fan-favorite jazz covers, Will Young returns to the stage with his incredibly talented band for a rare performance. Alongside some classic jazz standards, he will also perform new adaptations. Also, expect an abundance of funny stories and charming commentary throughout!

Thursday 1st June

1pm- Jeremy Bowen
OUR MAN IN THE MIDDLE EAST. The BBC’s Middle East Editor returns home to bring the news from Mosul, Gaza and Jerusalem. His 25-part series for Radio 4 about the region’s history starts on 15 May. He combines first-hand accounts from the front line with analysis of the politics, economics and societies he’s reported on since he first arrived in the Gulf in 1990. Chaired by Peter FlorenceHay Festival©

5:30pm-Adam Henson
LIKE FARMER, LIKE SON-The Countryfile star and visionary farmer explores his bond with his life-long hero: his father, Joe. In the 1940s and ’50s Joe, the son of stage and film star Leslie Henson, chose a completely different path and decided to pursue a career as a farmer. Joe overcame a serious stammer to become a regular broadcaster on Country Matters. He became the saviour of Britain’s rare breeds and opened the world’s first Farm Park Price: £10.30

Friday 2nd June

2:30pm- Anthony Horowitz
NEVER SAY DIE-Alex Rider is back. Join the author as he reveals what’s in store in the next chapter of his legendary character’s life as he is forced to leave his home in San Francisco and head back east. There are some old friends and old enemies and, above all, there is plenty of action, adrenaline and adventure. 9+  £7.30

Saturday 3rd June

1pm-Chris Tarrant
EXTREME RAILWAY JOURNEYS-In the last two years Chris’ travels have taken him from Azerbaijan to Bolivia and Zimbabwe. He brings to life the romance of travelling by train, and the sights, sounds and smells of the countries and places visited. Chaired by Oliver Balch.  £8.30

4pm-Bernie Sanders talks to BBC’s HARDtalk
HARDtalk is the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme. In this special edition recording at Hay, presenter Stephen Sackur interviews Bernie Sanders, the United States Senator for Vermont and the longest serving independent in U.S. congressional history. To be broadcast during the week of 5 June on BBC World News and BBC News Channel

5:30pm-Michael Sheen
The Welsh actor has made some of the most articulate interventions in political debates of the past years. Now returned home from Hollywood to Port Talbot, he talks about culture and society and the humane vision and tradition that Bevan inspires. Chaired by Phil George.

7pm-Bernie Sanders
Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In
The US Senator’s brand of populism has galvanised new generations to engage with politics.

Sunday 4th June

2:30pm-Bill Bailey talks to Jon Gower
The comedian introduces his humorous and very personal guide to his favourite British birds, complete with drawings, notes and cartoons and some spectacular impressions. ‘When herons are spooked they have a habit of vomiting as a defence. Half-digested pieces of eel and water vole skull on your head is not a good look. Just so you know. £8.30

There are many more great events and still plenty of tickets available so go online to find out more!

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