650 events, 370 acts, 200 speakers, 11 days, 9 stages.


HowTheLightGetsIn, the world's largest philosophy and music festival, is back in Hay-on-Wye.

Prepare for 650 events, 370 acts, 200 speakers, and 9 stages over 11 magical days. It’s our second day and the atmosphere is as sizzling as the summer sun.

In our topsy-turvy virtual world, has the real become a mirage created from our fantasies? And which current fantasies will become tomorrow's reality? Find out in our debate of the day with Colin Blakemore, Fiona Shaw and Richard K. Morgan. And don’t miss the Midnight Mayhem debate with Aubrey de Grey and Helen Lederer to cast your vote on whether the wisdom of age trumps the folly of youth.

Join us for our Opening Party where Hollie McNish will be cussing couplets in her searing spoken word poetry set; Stornoway will be bringing their guileless folk to the International stage; and Justin Robertson will be headlining the late night party.

And don't miss the chance to explore the brand new Riverside site throughout the 11 days of the festival - with the dazzling acrobatics of the Spiegel Circus, the restorative tranquility of the Spa, the fun of the fairground and the hustle and bustle of the Fayre.


15 03 27.ThursdayTrailblazerPassImage5

Join us for a magical evening of big ideas, legendary voices and musical marvels. Experience harp sensation Serafina Steer who did Jarvis Cocker's album of the year, Time Out  "Rising Stars" Tankus the Henge, BBC Wales Artist of the Week Siôn Russell Jones, as well as our opening debate Dreamland and the BAFTA-winning documentary All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry.


Get the all evening pass for full access to the debate, documentary and live sessions.


Festival Live - 11 Day Pass holders have access to this event.

002 Dreamland.so

Fulfil your dreams and make the most of your life! So advocate headmasters, moralists and revolutionaries. Yet poet John Betjeman's principal regret was that he did not have more sex. Is life not about goals and ambition but about the moment of being? Or is making our dreams real the only way to fulfilment?


Writer of the Guardian's 'This Column Will Change Your Life' Oliver Burkeman, author of A Life Inside Erwin James, and Absolutely Fabulous star Helen Lederer, debate the best way to live.


Thursday Trailblazer All Evening Pass tickets also provide access to this event.

004 All in the Best Possible Taste Grayson Perry

This BAFTA-winning documentary follows contemporary artist Grayson Perry in the first part of his series dissecting the impact of class and background on personal taste. Here Grayson goes in search of working class culture in Sunderland.


“Documentary of the Year” Independent

In association with TVF International.


First Weekend Pass, Festival Live - 11 Day Pass, and Thursday Trailblazer All Evening Pass tickets also provide access to this event.

Institute of art and ideas