Five lesser-known facts about the Hay Festival

1. From Little to Large

From early festival days held variously in a pub car park and a primary school, the event has grown into a colossus. As well as the Welsh version (which alone draws 85,000 people come from all over the world), the organisers also stage a further 120 satellite festivals in 20 different countries. Despite its huge commercial potential, the event remains a not-for-profit organisation.

2. Marry, don’t tarry

Organisers claim that there have been at least 32 marriages between couples who first met at the festival. If this is true (and we have no reason to disbelieve), then this would make Hay more successful in match-making than Blind Date. It would seem that those who Hay together stay together.

3. It Appeals to the Divers(e)

As well as the literary illuminati who have appeared at the festival over the years, Olympic diver Tom Daley appeared last Saturday 27th May. He shared what he’s learned about staying fit, healthy and positive.

4. Sweet Charity

Oxfam have had a bookshop at Hay for many years, and it proves to be a quite spectacular source of income for the charity. In 2016, some 25,000 books were sold at Hay in Wales. This raised more than £47,000 for the charity.

5. Hay Library on borrowed time

It is ironic that the public library of the “town of books” faces closure as part of a county council cost-cutting review. Campaigners say it has been “given a stay of execution” by the Hay Festival who have agreed to fund part of the library’s operating costs. The council said revised budget savings meant it now had until the end of the December 2017 to agree the library's future.

 

Five lesser-known facts about the Hay Festival

The Hay Festival is 30 this year – and has grown into the UK’s largest literary gathering. As writers, artists, performers, presenters, philosophers and politicians come together in a bookish frenzy in a field in rural Wales for 10 days, we pick our top five lesser-known facts about Hay.

1. From little to large

From early festival days held variously in a pub car park and a primary school, the event has grown into a colossus. As well as the Welsh version (which alone draws 85,000 people come from all over the world), the organisers also stage a further 120 satellite festivals in 20 different countries. Despite its huge commercial potential, the event remains a not-for-profit organisation.


2. Marry, don’t tarry

Organisers claim that there have been at least 32 marriages between couples who first met at the festival. If this is true (and we have no reason to disbelieve), then this would make Hay more successful in match-making than Blind Date. It would seem that those who Hay together stay together.

3. It Appeals to the Divers(e)

As well as the literary illuminati who have appeared at the festival over the years, Olympic diver Tom Daley appeared last Saturday 27th May. He shared what he’s learned about staying fit, healthy and positive.

4. Sweet Charity

Oxfam have had a bookshop at Hay for many years, and it proves to be a quite spectacular source of income for the charity. In 2016, some 25,000 books were sold at Hay in Wales. This raised more than £47,000 for the charity.

5. Hay Library on borrowed time

It is ironic that the public library of the “town of books” faces closure as part of a county council cost-cutting review. Campaigners say it has been “given a stay of execution” by the Hay Festival who have agreed to fund part of the library’s operating costs. The council said revised budget savings meant it now had until the end of the December 2017 to agree the library's future.