Hay Festival 2023

Our 2023 Festival took place 25 May - 4 June. The programme is listed below.

Most of the events are now available in our online archive Hay Player – please see individual listings for more details.

Event FiltersYou are viewing events filtered byThursday 25 May 2023View All

Event 1

Events taking place live 25 May–4 June 2023

Hay on Earth Forum: We Need to Talk About Food

Full day ticket

Venue: Wye Stage
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Hay on Earth is a sustainability-focused series of events at Hay Festival. At the Hay on Earth Forum each year we explore current issues, new developments and technical advances.

At this year’s Forum we bring you four events focusing on the future of food. This full day ticket gives you entry to all four events:

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Event 2

Events taking place live 25 May–4 June 2023

Louise Gray and Kimberley Wilson talk to Andy Fryers

Hay on Earth Forum: Food Anxiety

Venue: Wye Stage
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Who picked your Fairtrade banana? Where do all the wonky carrots go? And if we’re being encouraged to eat five-a-day, just how much damage are we doing to the world we live in through food miles? We all know that as a nation our mental health is in crisis. But a crucial part of the solution – what we eat – is being ignored. Gray, author of Avocado Anxiety and Other Stories About Where Your Food Comes From, tracks food from farm to fruit bowl, unpacks the dilemmas we face in trying to eat well and ethically, and helps us discover the impact that growing fruits and vegetables has on the planet. Psychologist Wilson, author of Unprocessed: How the Food we eat is Fuelling our Mental Health Crisis, reveals the role of food and nutrients in brain development and mental health. They talk to Hay Festival’s Sustainability Director Andy Fryers.

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Event 3

Events taking place live 25 May–4 June 2023

Jake Fiennes

Hay on Earth Forum: Land Healer

Venue: Wye Stage
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Jake Fiennes is on a mission to heal the land we’ve destroyed, and change the face of the British countryside. The conservation manager at Holkham in Norfolk, one of the country’s largest historic country estates, has taken a radical approach to habitat restoration and agricultural work, which has brought back wetlands, hedgerows, birds and butterflies over 25,000 acres of land. He takes us through the farming year and the natural cycle of the seasons, and delivers a manifesto urging us to rethink our relationship with the natural world before it’s too late. In conversation with Caroline Cook, Head of Climate Change, Baillie Gifford.

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Event 5

Events taking place live 25 May–4 June 2023

BBC Radio 4: Loose Ends

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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Loose Ends producers Clive Anderson and Andrew O’Neill bring the chat and laughs of Radio 4’s top entertainment show to the Hay Festival. Guests are Simon Day, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Joseph Coelho and Dr Ranj, with music from Sweet Baboo and Panic Shack

Free but ticketed
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Event 6

Events taking place live 25 May–4 June 2023

Alastair Campbell and Rafael Behr ​talk to Katie Razzall

Politics Without Rage

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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Anger, despair, disillusionment. The state of our politics is such these days that all those feelings regularly sweep over us. But political journalist Rafael Behr (Politics – A Survivor’s Guide: How to Stay Engaged Without Getting Enraged) and strategist and writer Alastair Campbell (The Rest is Politics podcast host; author of But What Can I Do? Why Politics Has Gone So Wrong, and How You Can Help Fix It) are here to demonstrate that you can stay engaged with politics without getting enraged. Using their expert knowledge, the pair take us through how we can play our part and make a real difference, develop our skills of advocacy and persuasion, and campaign for change. Even if we find ourselves frustrated with politics, Behr and Campbell show us there’s always something we can do.
They talk to BBC Culture Editor Katie Razzall.

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Event 7

Events taking place live 25 May–4 June 2023

Louise Gray, Sheila Dillon, Duncan Fisher, Ian Rasmussen and Bryce Evans

Hay on Earth Forum: Milltir Sgwar: The Next Chapter – A Square Meal on a Square Mile

Venue: Wye Stage
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The way we consumed food changed during the lockdown, and has continued to evolve as we face new challenges with our food supply. Is food globalisation still viable in an uncertain age of dramatic geopolitical realignment, climatic and environmental peril and colossal challenges to food production and distribution? We urgently need fresh, innovative and sustainable ideas to address such existential threats.

Louise Gray is author of Avocado Anxiety and Other Stories About Where Your Food Comes From; Sheila Dillon is a food journalist and presenter of Radio 4’s The Food Programme; Duncan Fisher is co-manager of Our Food 1200, a community benefit society re-building a local food economy in Bannau Brycheiniog, Powys & Monmouthshire ; Ian Rasmussen is a senior lecturer at the University of Chester and a Slow Food Cymru Wales member; and Bryce Evans is Professor of Modern World History at Hope Liverpool University. They discuss the Welsh concept of Milltir Sgwar – square mile – which promotes belonging to and being immersed in a small community. Are we bold enough to revert to a more localised approach to food production: a square meal on a square mile?

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Event 8

Events taking place live 25 May–4 June 2023

Bear Grylls in conversation with Tori James

Mind Fuel

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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Adventurer Grylls recounts some truly hair-raising escapades from his life, and shares the daily tips he’s learned to help you build your mental resilience. Grylls speaks about stories from his memoir Never Give Up, capturing the reality behind some of the hairiest survival missions he's undertaken, gives a rare insight into his family life, and shares with vulnerability his most death-defying and life-defining moments. He also imparts advice from his new book Mind Fuel, a constructive and authentic self-help manual that shares the principles that have helped him overcome fear, develop a positive mindset and break through the obstacles that limit success in everyday life.

Grylls is in conversation with adventurer Tori James, the first Welsh woman to climb Everest.

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Event 9

Events taking place live 25 May–4 June 2023

BBC Radio 4: News Quiz

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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Join Andy Zaltzman for a recording of Radio 4’s flagship topical comedy show as he grabs the week’s headlines and hurls them at four of the nation’s best comedians and journalists.

Free but ticketed
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Event 10

Events taking place live 25 May–4 June 2023

Gareth Wyn Jones, Mark Lynas, Solitaire Townsend and Martin Wright

Hay on Earth Forum: Food for the Future – Should We Trust in Tech?

Venue: Wye Stage
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British farming is in crisis: we import a greater proportion of our food than we used to, our countryside suffers more than ever from agriculture-related pollution and biodiversity loss, and farming is a major contributor to climate change. Does technology, from high-tech, precision, smart, vertical or underground farms to lab-grown alternatives to ‘natural’ food, have the answer? And if so, could tech bring down the curtain down on 5,000 years of British agriculture? Our panel of experts – Welsh hill farmer and TV presenter Gareth Wyn Jones, author and journalist Mark Lynas, sustainability expert and author of The Solutionists: How Businesses Can Fix the Future Solitaire Townsend, and environment journalist and photographer Martin Wright – discuss whether a rewilded Britain is a feasible vision, or the worst kind of ‘techtopian’ fantasy, and if there’s a happy medium for farmers and consumers.

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Event 11

Events taking place live 25 May–4 June 2023

New York Brass Band

Brass Band Blowout

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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North Yorkshire’s only contemporary New Orleans-inspired brass band lead an evening of music that packs a powerful punch of relentless drums, rumbling tuba and wailing horns. The band’s repertoire ranges from a full-on set of party covers to thrilling jazz and New Orleans sets. New York Brass Band annually plays at Glastonbury, Notting Hill Carnival and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

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