What you need to know about Hay Festival 2024

Hay Festival, one of the world's top literary events, is held every year in the mid Wales town of Hay-on-Wye.

This year's line-up includes Geri Halliwell-Horner, Bonnie Tyler, Gary Lineker and Theresa May.

What is Hay Festival?

Hay Festival is an annual arts and literature festival which takes place over the course of 11 days each spring.

This year's festival, which started on Thursday 23 May, runs until Sunday 2 June.

Around 300,000 people visit Hay over the course of 11 days.

Notable writers, musicians, comedians, poets and more come together to host a series of sessions in front of an audience.

First held in 1988, the event has attracted many big names over the years.

They include Stormzy, Sir Tom Jones, and the former US president Bill Clinton, who famously described Hay as the "Woodstock of the mind".

Who are the big names at Hay Festival 2024?

Saturday 25 May

Headline artists include historian and broadcaster Alice Roberts, author and comedian Lenny Henry, and comedian Ruby Wax.

Sunday 26 May

Notable speakers include comedian and actor David Mitchell, authors Michael Morpurgo and Marian Keyes, and the actor Dominic West.

Monday 27 May

How to Fail's Elizabeth Day, the actor Tom Holland, astronaut Tim Peake, the former prime minister Theresa May and the comedian Sara Pascoe, among others.

Tuesday 28 May

Actor Stephen Fry, journalists Cathy Newman and Matt Frei and the author Colm Tóibín.

Wednesday 29 May

Notable speakers include sports broadcaster Gary Lineker, actress Dame Judi Dench and the former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell-Horner.

Thursday 30 May

Children's author Jacqueline Wilson, The Repair Shop's Jay Blades and the singer Bonnie Tyler, among others.

Bonnie Tyler in performance
Bonnie Tyler will appear at Hay Festival to discuss her career [Getty]

Friday 31 May

Headline artists include the author and comedian David Baddiel, musician Jools Holland and comedian Julian Clary.

Saturday 1 June

Politician-turned-podcaster Rory Stewart, the former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, Mr Bates vs the Post Office's Toby Jones, and This is Going to Hurt's Adam Kay.

Sunday 2 June

Actor and author Miriam Margolyes, Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer and writer and presenter Reverend Richard Coles.

Some of the speakers scheduled to appear at Hay, including the singer Charlotte Church and the comedian Nish Kumar, pulled out in protest at a sponsor's links to Israel and fossil fuels.

Hay Festival said it was engaging with the sponsor "to resolve this".

Where is Hay Festival?

The festival takes place on an 11-acre site in Hay-on-Wye, a small town close to the English border.

The festival site is about a 15-minute walk from Hay-on-Wye town centre.

The town, which has a population of less than 2,000, is on the edge of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, or Brecon Beacons.

Hay Festival parking, trains and buses

The festival is situated just off the A483, between Brecon and Hereford.

The nearest train station is in Hereford, 21m (34km) away.

A number of bus services will be running from Hereford station, Worcester station and Hay-on-Wye town centre, taking visitors directly to the festival site for a fee.

For those hoping to drive, the advice is to car share wherever possible. There is a pay and display car park a short walk from the festival site.

More information on transport is available on the Hay Festival website.

Is Hay Festival free entry?

The festival site is free to enter, but you will need to book individual tickets for any events you'd like to attend.

According to the festival's website these can be bought online ahead of time, or - depending on availability - purchased at the festival's box office.

Hay Festival weather forecast

If you're hoping to leave your wellies at home, be warned.

Although the first few days of the festival are predicted to be dry, Sunday onwards is likely to be unsettled and rainy.

It's still too soon to predict the weather forecast with any certainty.

But, in a country with an average annual rainfall of 55 inches, waterproofs are never a bad idea...