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


While our Riverside Circus remains the talk of the town, HowTheLightGetsIn's fifth day is getting off to a similarly smouldering start.

Join us to uncover whether the truth can ever really exist in the news with Jonathan Calvert, John Lloyd and Hilary Lawson in Story Time. Then if you’re looking for a little more transparency, attend The End of Secrets to envisage what an honest world would look like. Next up contemplate the value of vanity in Vanity Fair with Simon Blackburn, Margaret Heffernan and George Galloway, who will be either saving or savaging the idea of self-promotion.

Also don’t miss Monday Night Mayhem, with a line-up including Rae Morris, Crazy P, Ceilidh Liberation Front, and Oscar winning documentary Citizenfour. See all the acts with the Monday Special pass.

And the brand new Riverside site will be home to the dazzling acrobatics of the Circus throughout the festival. Catch the family-friendly afternoon show or opt for the evening performance to experience a sensual extravaganza just for adults. Plus catch the chance to explore the brand new Riverside fairground and Fayre market, as well as the tranquil Spa.


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