HowTheLightGetsIn Festival-25th-28th May

On the banks of the idyllic River Wye, you’ll find the festival where the world’s leading thinkers come together to debate the most cutting edge ideas of our time. HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, returns to Hay for the Bank Holiday weekend of May 2018. For one weekend, the world’s leading thinkers head to HowTheLightGetsIn’s idyllic festival site set on the edge of the Black Mountains, next to the River Wye. But it’s not just debates and talks. There’s also an inspiring lineup of music, comedy and performance across our atmospheric and intimate venues.


Speakers and Debates

Confirmed speakers include political theorist Noam Chomsky, physicist Lawrence Krauss, Diane Abbott, Ed Milliband and former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. All of this alongside an electrifying programme of music, comedy, culture and performance.

18 05 10. Updated Debates Banner

Music and Performance

Nowhere else on earth are ideas and hedonism so closely intertwined…With over 250 acts, we carefully hand-pick our Music & Performance events to meld old favourites with the cutting edge. With a sensational line-up of artists, including Brit and Mercury award winners and Grammy nominees alike, this year’s festival looks set to be the biggest and best yet. From exhilarating beats to intimate gigs from enchanting solo singers, every taste is catered for. Elsewhere at the festival, revellers scour the nooks and crannies of our idyllic site for every type of entertainment going. Laugh until your cheeks ache with the UK’s funniest comic talent. Put on your glad rags for the Masked Ball and dance until your feet hurt with our internationally renowned DJ sets. Pace yourself. It’s going to be mayhem. Find the music line up here.


Food and Drink

Whether you’re after a spectacular four course banquet or a quick snack between sessions; exotic world foods, local ciders or a slice of homemade cake, you’ll find a whole range of exceptional eateries across the two festival sites. Sample everything from fresh summer salads to barbequed meats and rustic, artisan bread in our Globe Kitchen, a pop-up restaurant boasting a delicious array of freshly prepared, locally procured and sustainably sourced food.

We’ve got a really special new addition to the festival this year – the Waterfront Bar & Kitchen. This magical riverside restaurant, bar and music venue is open from 8am to 2am, serving award-winning food accompanied by the best acoustic acts. The Waterfront is also home to our convivial long table banquets where you can join friends old and new, and enjoy a four-course feast in our spellbinding festival banquet hall. More here.

Experiences and Activities

HowTheLightGetsIn is more than just an unrivalled programme of debates and music. Each year we lovingly construct a space of wonder and delight, a beautiful escape from all the shackles of the day-to-day. Our festival is a haven for the curious, a place to roam around in pristine countryside and rediscover the things that make life wonderful. From our decadent masked balls and Medieval feasts to the scintillating sights of the Spiegel Circus, HowTheLightGetsIn is built on spine-tingling, life-affirming moments that stay with you for the rest of the year. Come to Hay-on-Wye and step into a playground for the soul. More here.

And there is plenty more to discover at this spellbinding festival! Find the full programme and tickets here.

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