Mountain Warehouse and Hay Festival unveil 2019 partnership

UK outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse will become the official camping and kit provider for Hay Festival Wales 2019 after a new partnership agreement was signed today, marking the festival’s first national clothing retailer collaboration, and covering events and digital promotion.

Taking place 23 May-2 June, Hay Festival is the world’s leading festival of ideas, bringing readers and writers together to share stories and perspectives in sustainable events against the stunning backdrop of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Mountain Warehouse is the largest outdoor retailer in the UK with more than 250 stores nationwide. The brand was established in 1997 by founder Mark Neale and now serves over four million outdoor-loving customers a year. The partnership will incorporate an on-site retail space, a series of new Mountain Warehouse Walks encouraging the Hay Festival audience to explore the beautiful countryside around Hay-on-Wye, a Mountain Warehouse Series of talks on stage celebrating the landscape and countryside; and a series of joint digital promotions.

Mountain Warehouse joins an illustrious list of partners to support Hay Festival in recent years. Research from QRS Research shows that 57% of audience members surveyed felt more positive to companies that sponsor Hay Festival, while one in four said they learnt more about the sponsors as a result of their participation. Partners enjoyed up to 90% brand awareness and 15% direct engagement.

Mark Neale, founder of Mountain Warehouse, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Hay Festival, an event that shares our passion for celebrating adventure and the great outdoors, and bringing our experience and great value outdoor gear to festival goers. I took part in Hay Festival earlier this year and knew I wanted us to be there in 2019.”

Maggie Kerr, development director of Hay Festival, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Mountain Warehouse on a series of new initiatives, celebrating our location beneath the Black Mountains and adding value to our audience’s experience of Hay. For 32 years Hay Festival has brought writers and readers together to examine the world as it is and imagine it as it might be in events here and around the world, and our partners make it all possible.”

More than 600 award-winning writers, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators are expected to appear at the late spring festival in events across 11 days, while HAYDAYS and #HAYYA programmes will give young readers the opportunity to meet their heroes and get creative.

The partnership news comes hot on the heels of the festival’s earlybirds event release, which offered a snapshot of a programme full of new views on a changing world, including conversations with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jared Diamond; Nobel Prize-winning biologist Venki Ramakrishnan; and travel writers Robert Macfarlane and Horatio Clare; novelists Leila Slimani, Anna Burns and Markus Zusak; children’s writers Julia Donaldson and Michael Rosen; comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig; and all-star performances of Diaries Live and Speeches Live.

The Festival site is free to enter, with ticketed events in 10 tented venues, plus a range of sites to explore, including the Festival Bookshop; the HAYDAYS courtyard; Hay Festival Wild Garden; creative workshops in the Make and Take Tent, the Scribblers Hut, The Cube and the Mess Tent; market stalls, cafés and restaurants; and a new Serious Readers Room.

Earlybird tickets are on sale now online or via 01497 822 629. The full Hay Festival 2019 programme will be announced on Friday 29 March 2019.