Set on the edge of the Black Mountains, alongside the Wye in the famed book town of Hay, HowTheLightGetsIn is set in a magical location. But that is the backdrop for the real magic to come.
"There is a crack in everything...that's how the light gets in", goes the Leonard Cohen song from which the 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 meet as many of the world's leading thinkers, discover the most cutting-edge ideas, and party and dance late into the night.
At HowTheLightGetsIn Hay 2020 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 by the river to the finest beats, dine with our speakers in Open Platform events or indulge in sumptuous long table banquets.
HowTheLightGetsIn is not just another festival. There's something special in the air. It's alive with ideas in every field of endeavour. Our 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.
HowTheLightGets in is 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 since we started. But we've kept our intimate scale. Our venues are small enough to encourage real conversation, electric enough to make the dancing spin.
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.
Our music programme is what makes HowTheLightGetsIn unique.
We carefully hand-pick our Music & Performance events to mix old favourites with the cutting edge. From exhilarating dance music to intimate gigs from enchanting singer-songwriters, every taste is well and truly catered for.
"The art and soul of the party" - Harper's Bazaar
"Brilliant...the setting and the atmosphere is perfect" - Badly Drawn Boy
With our sumptuous spread of pop-up stalls and eateries found throughout the festival site, every taste is well and truly catered for at HowTheLightGetsIn. Grab a quick snack between events at one of our characterful local venues, or indulge in the magical Waterfront restaurant's award-winning menu on the Riverside site. From long table banquets to sophisticated wine bars, the festival has something for everyone. We're "not just another cider filled welly festival", but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy delicious homegrown cider from the nearby Wye Valley if you fancy!
Whether you’re after a spectacular long table banquet or a quick snack between sessions, exotic world foods, a glass of champagne or a slice of homemade cake, you’ll find a whole range of exceptional venues across the festival site.
You may come for our debates, talks and music, but HowTheLightGetsIn Hay will have so much more to try.
Our Inner Circle events are a unique opportunity to dine and discuss ideas with the world's leading thinkers. Beginning with an introduction from one of our speakers, you'll get the chance to have your say on the day's ideas. If there's a question you've always wanted to ask them, or if you think they got it wrong in a debate, now's the opportunity.You might not get one anywhere else.
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.
HowTheLightGetsIn is the world’s largest and most exciting philosophy and music festival – and we need YOU to make it happen!
Volunteering at HowTheLightGetsIn is an amazing way to get involved with the process of turning our vision into a reality, as well an as opportunity for you to enjoy the festival itself with minimal costs.
1. ACCESS. In return for their short daily shifts (typically between 5-6 hours), festival volunteers get a staff wristband giving them access to a whole range of debates, live music, film & comedy - not to mention insane discounts on the festival eateries and some of the visiting stall holders!
2. SKILLS & EXPERIENCE. Volunteering looks great on your CV and all of our volunteers can request a reference at the end of the festival for future employment. You'll get to network with festival organisers and gain an insight into the behind-the-scenes running of a large-scale event.
3. FUN. The team is always diverse, welcoming and up for having a lot of laughs, as well as working well together to keep the festival ticking. A lot of our volunteers come back year after year to have reunions and see the same friendly faces they got to know their first year volunteering.
HowTheLightGets Hay 2020 is set in a magical location on the edge of the Black Mountains, alongside the river Wye in the famed book town of Hay!
Newport St, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford HR3 5BG
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