Hay Festival is held in Hay-on-wye, Powys, Wales for roughly 10 days. I once heard Hay Festival described as “The Woodstock of the mind”, that is a fabulous description for what is a bubbling pot of literature and entertainment.
Since its early days it now has a children area called ‘hay fever’. Each day in hay fever they have a different subject they cover in art sessions. Initially my 7 year old pulled his face and said it was for babies due to a lot of younger children having a grand old time. A lovely lady working in the craft space asked my son to write or draw something, and it would be put into a competition. Never one to turn down a challenge he took himself off to a quiet space and happily spent a good half an hour drawing and writing with a little encouragement every so often from the lovely crew. Whilst he was busy Matilda had a great time pulling out and looking at the huge selection of books on offer. They both had a great time in the area and would of happily spent a couple of hours in the space.
The book shop onsite has regular book signings from writers who have spoken on the day and books already signed for sale. Dylan was quite taken with the story of Pigsticks and Harold by Alex Milway. He had his book personally signed and got to have a chat with Alex who gave him some encouraging words on reading.
We spent time looking around the huge variety of different stalls. One of the biggest hits was the woodland trust. A huge artificial tree with hidden fake animals in it that kept both amused for ages. A large jenga set and connect 4 set was also a big hit. The staff were lovely and very helpful.
Of course the main thing people come to the festival for is the talks and shows. It is advisable to book in advance but we just thought we would turn up and see what was available. We managed to get tickets to see ‘The word wizards guide to Roald Dahl’. A wonderful talk on all the magical words Roald Dahl created and about the great man himself. It went on for approx a hour and was £6 each (free for Tilly as she could sit on my lap). Dylan loved it and has not stopped talking backwards since but Tilly struggled and was restless about half way though, so we had to let Dylan enjoy on his own whilst we watched from the sidelines.
The whole site it pretty much undercover and has quite possibly the poshest toilets I have ever seen in a festival arena. Totally chilled atmosphere, helpful stewards and staff, lovely food stalls, only £3 to park all day and of course 100s of talks and shows to watch over the week. If you can give it a visit even if you don’t have tickets for a show just go and have a really lovely day out.