20 Reasons why you should go to the Hay Festival

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The Hay Festival (22 May-1 June 2014) is a gathering in the staggering beauty of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
  1. The Festival was founded around a kitchen table in 1987 and continues to attract the most exciting writers, filmmakers, comedians, politicians and musicians to inspire, delight and entertain, and for 10 days in May, Hay is promised to be full of stories, ideas, laughter and music.
  2. Julia Donaldson will be celebrating the Gruffalo’s 15th birthday with all his fans during her workshops.
  3. You can join Madness frontman Suggs as he discusses his heady music career, and Ray Davies, lead singer and songwriter of The Kinks as he talks to Dylan Jones.
  4. There are 2 Mess Tents to visit, you can drop in become a physicist with Physics in the Field, or an illustrator with Phoenix Comics, join in the capers with Sharky & George and bottle your own cordial, designing your own labels with the lovely Alexia Tucker.
  5. Not often seen on these shores, you can enjoy some time with Judy Blume, the legendary author of teenage novels.
  6. Screenwriters feature in this years line up for the first time. Carrie Fisher (who needs no introduction), Pippa Harris & Heidi Thomas (writers of Call the Midwife) Steve Coogan & Stephen Frears (Philomena), Steven Moffat (Dr Who, Sherlock amongst many) all talk to Alan Yentob.
  7. The Princes Drawing School run ‘The Summer House*’ a free (drop in) studio where all ages (and talents) can learn to draw. *(free but ticketed event).
  8. One of our favourites Johnny Duddle will be in the house with Gigantosaurus at this event.
  9. Ian McEwan will be previewing his book The Children’s Act.
  10. Science events are hitting the schedule with a Big Bang, headlined by Nobel Laureates John Gurdon and Tim Hunt.
  11. There is music to dance away the evenings with Cerys Matthews, Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté, Hugh Masekela and Sam Lee.
  12. You can go on a real bear hunt, with Middleton Mann’s interactive story time at his kids event.
  13. Cookery lovers can mix it up with chefs Antonio Carluccio, Mary Berry and Sam & Sam Clark.
  14. The Hay Tours are running heritage trail town walls walks… during this 90mins walk you will find out about the cheesy features of this historic town.  You will visit the Cheese and Butter Markets, a few pubs (of course) the medieval walled town Hay Castle and the place where people would ford the River Wye before the first bridge was built in 1763. (NB. no flip flops allowed!)
  15. Barclays are running ‘LifeSkills’ workshops to help students move seamlessly into the rat race, talking networking mainly, and discussing the most important bit ‘… listen, speak and remember information’.
  16. Skye Meredith & Chloe Harbor will be storytelling in the Make and Take Tent (10-5pm daily), where you can also chill, with some free crafting sessions.
  17. Non-fiction for kids also gets a look in with Robert Winston and his Utterly Amazing Science facts at this event here.
  18. Marcus du Sautoy & Victoria Gould will be using maths and humour to reach unknown reaches of the universe.
  19. The adorable Clarice Bean will be brought alive through some real chat about kids anxiety, sibling rivalry and the value of Saturday morning tv by her super talented author Lauren Child at this event here.
  20. Pssst, last but not least, you can also catch up with Chris Evans as his BBC2 short story competition winners will be announced at Hay Festival on 30 May, and grab a cocktail with one of your media-mates at The Groucho Club pop up, which is destined to be the place to be seen but certainly not heard.
ps. That's just 20 reasons, from a range of 700+ events happening. Come and join us, we'll be the ones sleeping on a bed made from books over at Fred's camping spot. xo