Tens of Thousands Heading for Hay - but Not All of Them for the Main Event; World's Only Philosophy and Music Festival Starts Tomorrow

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 27, 2010 | Go to article overview

Tens of Thousands Heading for Hay - but Not All of Them for the Main Event; World's Only Philosophy and Music Festival Starts Tomorrow


Byline: Sally Williams

AS THE Hay cultural feast kicks off today, the book town is also preparing to host a lesser-known event - the world's only philosophy and music festival.

The eyes of the literary world will be on the main festival, which this year includes Pakistan's former leader Pervez Musharraf and Shakespeare In Love playwright Tom Stoppard among its speakers.

But alongside the literary festival the HowTheLightGetsIn (HTLGI) philosophy and music at Hay event, which gets under way tomorrow, is expected to attract 10,000 visitors in its own right.

The event features award-winning author Philip Pullman and eminent mathematician Roger Penrose, who will get to grips with the nature of creativity in a talk chaired by Andrew Copson, of the British Humanist Association.

Also, as part of the HTLGI festival, filmmaker David Bond will be contemplating a world where nothing is entirely private and anti-ageing expert, Aubrey de Grey and influential ethicist Baroness MaryWarnock will be questioning whether an awareness of our mortality is essential to being human.

The weighty topics will be lightened with cutting-edge music from Radio 1's Welsh DJs, Huw Stephens and Bethan Elfyn, with live sets from Muchuu, King Creosote and Sweet Baboo.

HTLGI festival director Hilary Lawson said: "As the world's only philosophy and music festival, we have gripped the public imagination here and abroad.

"People come from all over the country and, significantly, from all over Europe.

"Local people have also really got behind this festival and we have included some fantastic local performers and speakers this year.

"By offering visitors philosophy debates and talks and a full music programme, including some of the UK's leading emerging and established talents, we attract a diverse and lively crowd."

She said the event was hoping to bring philosophy to a wider audience.

"In the UK, we are deeply antiintellectual because philosophers and intellectuals tend to lock themselves away in academies talking a form of language that doesn't really have a bearing on us," she said.

"We need to get away from this and to show that philosophy affects the way we operate and that it matters.

"I'd like to see philosophy escape from the academy into people's lives."

Bianca Bonomi HTLGI festival publicist said: "Hay is a cultural haven. People are receptive to new ways of thinking and come here to challenge themselves and learn new things in a warm and un-intimidating environment. "Former Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik will be here with his Look Back In Angst; a humorous look at his years as an MP, a behind-the-scenes look at the election and his predictions for the future.

"He'll be joined by his harmonica and some jokes. …

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