Hay Festival of Literature and Arts (sometimes referred to as Hay-on-Wye Festival), is a book, food, and arts festival taking place annually in Hay-on-Wye, Powys. The festival was conceived by Norman and Peter Florence in 1988.
The 2012 Hay Festival will see a performance from Tim Minchin, and an audience with Hilary Mantel. The full line up is to be announced on Easter Weekend, in April. The dates for the 2012 event are 31 May to 10 June. Previous performers at the Hay-on-Wye Festival have included Stephen Fry, Carol Ann Duffy, Melvyn Bragg, Dylan Moran, and Howard Davies.
The festival has thrived on popularity over recent years, and it has now expanded to a number of countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Kenya, Turkey, Hungary, Ireland, and India. The festival also hosts a children’s festival called Hay Fever, and started the Hay-On-Earth initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of the festival across the world.
Over 250,000 now attend Hay Festival and its sister festivals worldwide, from an initial attendance of 1000 in 1988. As well as aiming to entertain patrons of the festival, it also focuses on education as an important aspect of the arts, with an outreach programme extending through Wales.
The Guardian, The Times, and The Telegraph have all sponsored Hay-On-Wye Festival, with a writer at The Guardian claiming that the festival attracted the best writers in the world.