Books,  Lifestyle

Hay Festival (Goes) Digital May 22-31 2020

If you know me (virtually or in-person) you know I love books. Probably my absolute favorite festival, ever, is Hay Festival. Hay Festival is held at the end of each May in gorgeous Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

I should have been at Hay Festival this year, but things arose in late January personally that meant an end to those plans, and then with the pandemic, the Festival was forced to change its plans.

Thankfully, their change of plans means I can attend, albeit virtually (and in my jammies on the sofa, or in the back garden.)

It also means YOU can attend.


So what is Hay Festival?

First and foremost, it’s a literary festival – book lovers, this is your Nirvana. But it’s so much MORE than that. You’ll find talks given by wonderful authors about their latest releases. There are also talks on politics, the economy, and the environment – topics that are important, pressing, and relevant. While this year’s schedule is scaled back – which really just means I don’t have to choose between conflicting sessions – there are over 100 authors, innovators, scientists, politicians, artists, and more bringing conversations and live Q&A to all of us at home.


How Can I “Attend”?

You can find the online programme (it’s fancier with the British spelling) on the website – by clicking HERE. Browse the schedule, find a session you like (or twenty), and register for the event. Your virtual “seat” will be reserved, and you can even get a reminder of the event (in case you get tied up on a phone call or are wrangling homework or generally distracted).

The sessions are being broadcast via Crowdcast, so you’ll be taken to the Crowdcast site (you can also download the app, which will keep you super organized) and sign up there. Even better for those of us NOT in BST, the replay will be available for 24 hours. I’m thrilled about this because I’m sure I’ll absorb much more at 8 am with a cup of coffee than at 3 am after my third glass of wine.

The Hay Festival has straightforward instructions on how to register:

Fun Hay Festival Digital Things (Yes There is Merch)

While I don’t think I can convince my husband to cover the shipping fees to the US for one of their delightful deck chairs, which, with a stack of freshly purchased books at my feet and maybe a Pimms cup in hand would put me straight in the festival spirit, they have loads of other fun items. Purchases will help keep this festival alive, so shop. (I have my eye on the reusable coffee mug.)

Or – if you want to experience Hay Festival in an even bigger way, treat yourself to a one-year subscription to Hay Player and you can play as many of the filmed and audio recorded past sessions as you’d like.

So go shop.

Hay Festival Shop


There are so many good things going on around Hay Festival beginning tomorrow and continuing through May 31 that you really should go check it out. Follow them on Twitter, explore the website.

In past years I have live-tweeted sessions, but I don’t know if I will do that this year, simply because there are a LOT more distractions here at home.

For the love of books, for science, for new thought, for entertainment – make this the first year you experience Hay Festival Digital.

After all, they’ve brought it straight to you, and it’s free.

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