Free BBC events added to Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024 programme, expanding the ‘world of different’ experiences

An exciting mixture of free BBC events has been added to the Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024 programme, adding to the line-up of more than 600 events, 23 May–2 June 2024. 

The full programme is available to view now at

Taking place in the Exchange Marquee, set in the centre of the free-to-enter Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye site, BBC events offer a dynamic blend of live show recordings and workshops from BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Sounds, BBC Academy, and BBC Hereford and Worcester.

BBC Radio 4 kicks off the schedule of free events as Clive Anderson presents Saturday night hit Loose Ends, while award-winning satire show Dead Ringers will bring up-to-the-minute topical impressions as part of Radio 4’s Friday Night Comedy strand. 

Audiences can enjoy the excitement of live broadcast with BBC Radio 4’s Cardiff-based programme Saturday Live sharing extraordinary stories from remarkable people, while arts programme Front Row celebrates Young Adult fiction.

Adam Rutherford presents Start the Week and Natalie Haynes’ Stand Up for the Classics is back with more stand-up about figures from the Ancient World. There’s also a chance to hear Jon Ronson talk about the latest series of his hit podcast Things Fell Apart and Greg Foot test so-called wonder products in Sliced Bread

A host of BBC Radio 4 presenters take to the stage with their hit shows including Michael Mosley with Just One ThingMarianna Spring, the BBC’s Disinformation & Social Media Correspondent, brings her podcast Why Do You Hate Me? investigating extraordinary cases of online hate; Marian Keyes and Tara Flynn solve listeners’ problems on Now You’re Asking and Gabriel Gatehouse talks about his podcast journey into political turmoil, The Coming StormGreg Jenner hosts Festival favourite You’re Dead to Me and Michael Sandel shares The Public Philosopher, questioning the thinking behind current controversies and Moral Maze will examine the moral issues behind a topical story. Comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean will be joined by comedians, doctors, scientists, and historians to celebrate medicine’s inspiring past, present and future in Best Medicine

Marking 100 years since the death of Franz Kafka and 75 years since the publication of George Orwell’s 1984, we discuss the lasting legacy of these two writers and consider their continuing influence in the 21st century in Orwell vs Kafka. Two of Radio 4’s continuity announcers – the voices who introduce Radio 4’s programmes, bring us the news and The Shipping Forecast – will be in the Marquee for the first weekend to introduce live events.

BBC Radio Wales records a special edition of The Arts Show and The Aberystwyth Book Club. BBC Academy and BBC Writers offer a series of free sessions to encourage creativity. And, as the evening draws to a close, BBC Radio 3’s Night Tracks offers an immersive soundtrack from classical to contemporary and everything in between, hosted by Sara Mohr-Pietsch

Hay Festival Global CEO Julie Finch said: 

“Here is a special bundle of free Easter treats for Haymakers everywhere as we share even more events for Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024. We are delighted to grow our work with the BBC this year on site, welcoming Festival favourites from BBC Radio 4, Radio 3, Radio Wales and Radio Hereford & Worcester alongside new programming with BBC Academy and BBC Writers, opening access to Festival inspiration further. Join us on site or from afar; everyone is welcome.”

Mohit Bakaya, Director of Speech & Controller, Radio 4 & Radio 4 Extra, said: 

“We’re delighted to bring some of the BBC’s very best radio and podcast offerings to Hay again this year, from hard-hitting investigative programmes such as The Coming Storm, Why Do You Hate Me? and Things Fell Apart, which shine new light on the world around us, to shows that will uplift and inspire, including the much-loved Friday Night Comedy Dead Ringers and recent Radio 4 favourite Best Medicine. There’s something for everyone, so do join us in the BBC Marquee – we’d love to see you there.”

Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024 is supported by lead sponsors Baillie Gifford, Welsh Government, Arts Council England and Arts Council Wales, lead media partner the BBC and digital media partner TikTok.

Launching the best new fiction and non-fiction, while offering insights and debate around significant global issues, the programme sees writers, policy makers, pioneers and innovators take part from around the world, offering big thinking and bold ideas. 

Events offer something for all, beginning with the free schools programme, 23–24 May, and including a vibrant strand for families throughout. 

New projects woven across the Festival include The Platform for new creatives, the daily News Review offering analysis of the latest events, the first-ever Hay Festival Sports Day, and Hay Festival Green, prompting innovative solutions to the climate crisis.

Late nights at the Festival are given over to great music, comedy and entertainment, while a host of free pop-up activities and performances around the site keeps audience entertained between sessions. 

Events will take place across eight stages in the redesigned free-to-enter Festival site at Dairy Meadows – which also offers a range of spaces for audiences to explore and enjoy, including the Bookshop, Wild Garden, Make & Take Tent, a host of exhibitors and market stalls, cafés and restaurants, and the new Family Garden where young readers can kick-start their creative journeys ­– as well as in and around Hay-on-Wye, including performances all week at St Mary’s Church.