The Hay Festival Site, photography by Finn Beales
It’s hot. The air – swimming through the dawning sun’s flare, dyed glowing green by its battle through dew-soaked tent skin – is cloaked by a comforting, mossy smell. Beyond the walls of the glowing nylon pocket, gentle phrases grumble towards a sea of bubbling indecipherable expressions, the smooth surface sound only broken by the occasional questioning voice of a slowly rising zip. Until… from a stage in a distant field…
“Dumph! Dumph! Dumph! Dumph! -”
“Yeah, mutherFUCKERS! Get the FUCK UUUP!”
Good morning, festivalgoer. Welcome to your long saved-for long weekend of bottle torpedo avoidance, flaming portaloo dousing and plastic meals dished up in polystyrene boxes.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Steadily over the past few years, the major festival has been wrestled from the clutches of beer brands and mobile phone companies, and sent lolloping over can-strewn fields in search of a little cultural convalescence. It has emerged in such guises as the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, which welcomes its first visitors this week in the breathtaking Brecon Beacons National Park. Guided by the ambition to “share new visions of the world, and to do that incredibly sexy thing – to renew our sense of wonder”, the Hay Festival calls on comedians, writers, theatrical performers and musicians to deliver a 10-day programme of events that inspire, entertain and provide plenty of opportunities for wholesome escapism.
Photography by Finn Beales
Hay’s series of environment-related events include a forum on the better use of existing resources, agriculture and food sustainability workshops, and river walks; literary additions count highlights such as photographer Don McCullen in discussion with journalist Rosie Boycott, and talks from Bill Bryson, Lynn Barber and Alain De Botton; and the stage and screen element sees site-specific performances and short films played out across Hay.
The Hay Fever programme for kids plays host to the likes of Quentin Blake and Aardman Animations‘ Peter Lord, and the Rocks Riffs Guitar Workshop, Film Making in a Day, Beat-Matching and Scratching Workshop and farm visits are destined to shape a future generation of festivalgoers (and creators) with their expectations set far above late-night silent discos and stadium sell-out headliners with their osteopath on speed-dial.
The festival runs until Sunday 6th June.
Aardman Animations, Alain De Botton, Bill Bryson, Brecon Beacons National Park, comedy, Don McCullin, earth, environment, Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, Kids' Activities, literature, Lynn Barber, Quentin Blake, Rosie Boycott, sustainability
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