Culture Vultures Prepare to Make Hay as Sun and Big Crowds Are Predicted
Byline: Sally Williams
RECORD crowds are being predicted at the Hay Festival this weekend as it welcomes big names including Hollywood legend Tony Curtis, comedian Stephen Fry and broadcaster David Frost.
Organisers of the festival, who promise visitors a bumper weekend of "sunshine, comedy and literature" say attendance is already up by 15% on this time last year.
Visiting celebrities to the festival of literature, that runs until Sunday, May 31, also include Sting and Jeremy Paxman.
Peter Florence, festival director, said he hopes the thousands of visitors who are expected to head to the charming "book town" of Hay-on-Wye, in Powys, will treat the whole cultural experience as a holiday.
"We are told that it is going to be the first sunny May bank holiday for us at the festival for something like 12 years, which is tremendous.
We had forgotten what the sun was like," said Mr Florence.
His personal highlights of the festival will be talking to David Frost tomorrow at 8.30pm in the Barclays Wealth Pavilion and meeting his icon, Jane Birkin, who will headline at the festival tonight.
"I've admired David Frost for many years," he said.
"And since the 1960s, I have considered Jane Birkin to be the sexiest woman on the planet.
"She defined my adolescent years, so I can't wait to see her." He said the first two days of the festival had focused on climate change and the environment. But the next few days would see the emphasis swing headlong into high-brow literature, comedy, the economy and cookery - plus lost of fun storytelling and juggling and yoga events for children.
"We have lots of new and exciting flavours of ice creams, plenty of deck chairs and a fantastic line up of comedy including Stephen Fry talking about America on Monday, which will hopefully take everyone's minds off MPs' expenses," he added. …