Frequently Asked Questions

ask a question
  • What are the dates for the Festival in 2016?

    Thursday 26 May through to Sunday 5 June 2016.

  • I'm planning ahead – what are the dates for the Festival in 2017?

    Thursday 25 May through to Sunday 4 June 2017.

  • Where is the Festival?

    In a tented village in Hay-on-Wye, on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park. We’re bang in between Hereford and Brecon just off the A438 – see travel.

    Back to top...

  • How do we get there?

    Trains to Hereford from North, Midlands and South are met by festival buses. It’s a beautiful but exacting bike ride, and a stupendous drive from any direction – see travel.

    Back to top...

  • Where do we stay?

    There’s spectacular and reasonably priced camping all around – see accommodation. B&Bs and hotels tend to get booked up year on year by regular visitors, but there’s a festival bedfinder service who’ll make the many many calls to get you a roof for the pauperly fee of £10. Call your friends and family for the number of anyone with a spare bedroom within 40 miles!

    Back to top...

  • How much does it cost?

    There is no charge for entrance to the main festival site, you just buy tickets for the events you want to see. And there are lots of free events. Most ticketed gigs range from £5 to £19 (for household name comedy and music). It’s free for students though. Student tickets can be requested from 1 May by calling the box office on 01497 822 629.

    Back to top...

  • How did it start?

    Some say big bang, some believe in a freak poker game... more likely there were a bunch of friends round a kitchen table wanting something to do of an evening.

    Back to top...

  • How are the writers chosen?

    We invite the writers and performers (great writers work in all media) we most admire. We try to bring the greatest contemporary practitioners and the most exciting new voices. The directors talk to publishers, writers and a huge range of advisors – including many of the festival-goers.

    Back to top...

  • Who goes?

    Well, according to the survey results... Hay-goers have very little socially, economically or politically in common other than the festival. Debate results suggest they are sceptical about monarchy and religion, not much bothered about hunting, very bothered about illegal invasions of other countries conducted with no medium and longer term planning, and passionately engaged with the environment, good food and having a good time. Writers say they’re exceptionally well read and pretty smart. They’re all fairly gorgeous too.

    Back to top...

  • Is it good for families?

    There’s a great kids programme and lots of events with broad family appeal, and a whole section of the Festival is devoted to toddlers and parents. Step off-site and you can walk, swim, ride, paraglide and enjoy the most beautiful countryside in Britain.

    Back to top...

  • What's the safety policy for kids?

    Children aged 12 years and under must be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian, including during events, unless otherwise stated in the programme.


    The Lost Child Point is located in the Make and Take Tent in the HAYDAYS Courtyard between 10am and 5pm every day. Outside these hours it will be located in the Festival Admin Office, next to the Box Office on site.

    Back to top...

  • How is it for singletons?

    Give it a go. There are thousands of people here to make friends with. We’ve had 29 weddings of couples who met at the festival. And they’re just the ones who got hitched. It’s not the ideal location for solitude or misanthropy, unless you’re after a cure.

    Back to top...

  • Can I bring my dog on site?

    Unfortunately only assistance dogs are allowed inside Hay Festival events and within the main festival site. The site can get incredibly busy, the tents can get hot and need to be quiet when events are taking place. Although we love dogs and know the majority of dog owners are responsible, we have to have a one rule for all policy.

    We hope that this doesn’t stop you from coming to the festival. The town and surrounding countryside is great for dogs. There are many lovely walks nearby, including the mountains above Hay and a path along the river. See the Hay Tourist Information Bureau website for some ideas.

    Back to top...

  • I can’t get there this year...

    Sorry. Come again next year? Stay home and listen to us on BBC Radio, read the daily coverage in The Telegraph, and catch up with the events you would have heard live on the audio and video archive at

    Back to top...