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"There is a crack in everything...that's how the light gets in". So goes the Leonard Cohen song from which our festival gets its name. And HowTheLightGetsIn brings its own special form of magic to everyone. There is no other place on the planet where you can spend your days meeting the world's leading thinkers and discovering the most cutting-edge ideas, before partying and dancing late into the night.
At HowTheLightGetsIn Hay 2023 you can join a debate about the nature of the universe with the world's top scientists, laugh until your sides hurt with the UK's best comedians, dance at our famous disco tent to the finest beats or dine with our speakers at Inner Circle events.
HowTheLightGetsIn is not just another festival. There's something special in the air. It's alive with ideas in every field of endeavour. The programme has many names you will recognise but HowTheLightGetsIn is not about status or celebrity. We are about ideas and wonder and creating a space where everyone's imagination can flourish. Find the bands you've never heard of, discover ground-breaking ideas that have yet to make their mark, contribute yourself and your thoughts, and magic will come your way.
HowTheLightGetsin Hay 2023 will be set in a magical location on the edge of the Black Mountains, alongside the river Wye in the famed book town of Hay.
We've grown in the years since we started, but we remain dedicated to creating an intimate enviromment. Our venues are small enough to encourage real conversation, electric enough to play host to unforgettable performances and late-night parties.
If you've been to Hay, you'll know why this small town draws US Presidents and Nobel Prize winners, critics and intellectuals alike into its orbit. If you haven't, it's time to see what all the fuss is about.
Debate is the beating heart of HowTheLightGetsIn Hay 2023. Ideas are alive and evolving. There is rarely consensus at the frontiers of knowledge.
HowTheLightGetsIn gathers the leading thinkers in every field to interrogate the issues of our time and find new ways of understanding the world. The conversations you'll hear will help shape the intellectual landscape of the country for years to come.
Our programme is totally unique and singularly accessible. From fiery debates to intimate solo talks, and from Academy courses to Inner Circle dinners, get ready to push the boundaries of what you know.
Our world-class line up of musicians and performers is the jewel in the crown of our programme, and what makes HowTheLightGetsIn a festival unlike any other.
"The music lineup would shame the average summer festival" - The Independent
"The art and soul of the party" - Harper's Bazaar
"Brilliant...the setting and the atmosphere is perfect" - Badly Drawn Boy
A wide range of accommodation options to suit all group sizes set against the backdrop of the Black Mountains. If self-pitch camping suits your fancy, purchase a Festival Ticket with Camping at checkout. Or if you're looking for a little festival luxury, check out our range of boutique yurts.
HowTheLightGetsIn Hay 2023 has more to offer than party-starting performances and cutting edge discussion. We're creating a festival paradise on our riverside site, where every corner turned will reveal something new to try.
Inner Circle events are an exclusive opportunity for an intimate meal and discussion with world-leading thinkers, your chance to grill them on the issues of the day or their latest big idea.
Long Table Banquets
It's not just minds that can feast at HowTheLightGetsIn. Every lunch and evening, our resident chefs lay out a sumptuous four course meal, ready for you to enter a world of spectacle and sensual delight.
With film screenings of the latest documentaries, scandalous cabaret and vintage fairground rides to boot, the festival is a wonderland for the imagination.
Get a taste of what to expect with some highlights from past festivals!
Our luxurious long table banquets form the heart of the HowTheLightGetsIn experience. With the stunning River Wye as a backdrop to the festivities, sit down to a sumptuous four-course experience prepared with love by our incomparable chefs.
You'll be joined by fellow festival goers and HowTheLightGetsIn speakers alike, so there'll be no shortage of food for thought alongside the fare on the table.
A Truly Unique Offering