Hay Town and Local Walks 2018


There are many more events taking place in and around Hay during the festival, from markets and pop up restaurants to farm visits, walks and heritage trails.

Hay Town 2018

Fair on the Square

Saturday 26, Sunday 27, Monday 28 May, 10am-5.30pm Hay Memorial Square

Enjoy a free weekend street party with live music, food and a vintage market in the centre of Hay. Taking place on Memorial Square, with the historic Hay Castle as a backdrop, Broadsheep's Pete Mustill presents a back-to-back programme of live music from some of the best live acts across the region, including The Boogiemen, Misfit Pearl and the Odd Fellows, Guy Tortora Band, The Decibelles, Dom Pipkin and Little Rumba.

Hay Market Day

Thursday 24 May and Thursday 31 May, 9am-2pm Memorial Square, Clock Tower & ButterMarket

Trading for more than 700 years, Hay Market Day is a vibrant local market held in the centre of Hay every Thursday. With over 40 stalls covering a diverse and eclectic range of products, from hot food and local produce to vintage tweeds and unusual antiques, the ‘best day in Hay’ has something for everyone.

Vintage Market

Friday 25 May, Tuesday 29 May and Friday 1 June, 9am-5pm Cheese Market Hall

Hay's weekly vintage market sells a range of retro clothing, from 1950's tea dresses to colourful Converse footwear, together with vintage accessories, collectibles and homewares.

Saturday Market

Saturday 2 June, 9am-5pm Cheese Market Hall

The Saturday Market offers homemade pastries, cakes and treats, locally grown fruit and vegetables, African rugs and baskets, handspun yarns and woollen items.

Exhibitions 2018

Jackie Morris


1 May-31 August, Monday-Saturday 9.30am-5.30pm, Sunday 10.30am-5pm, Richard Booth's Bookshop, Lion Street Free

This is a retrospective exhibition of work from artist-illustrator Jackie Morris which includes new pieces, prints from The Lost Words (written by Robert Macfarlane) and a selection of work from The Ice Bear, Tell me a Dragon, Song of the Golden Hare.

Tom Abba and Alyssia White

Words We Never Wrote – Ambient Literature

24 May-3 June, Monday-Saturday 9.30am-5.30pm, Sunday 10am-5pm, First Floor, Richard Booth's Bookshop, Lion Street Free

Presented for the first time at Hay Festival, this event explores the meaning of writing, language and storytelling. "We all, at a fundamental level, consist of words. As we change, as our lives change us, words become dislodged; my story becomes a part of yours. There are some words though, that remain lost, waiting in the cracks of floorboards, ricocheting off people in busy crowds. As they are lost from one story, they wish to become part of another..." Somewhere close to you lie fragments of that story never written. Scattered words offer glimpses of a narrative etched into the air itself. This is where stories begin, where a story is trying to be told. It wants you to help write it. All you need is a modern smartphone (running Android 4.3+ or iOS 6+) and some headphones (we will have some spare if you need them). The work lasts approximately 20 minutes.

Katherine Sheers


21 May-8 July, Monday - Saturday 8.30am–Late, Sunday 8.30am-4pm, River Cafe, Glasbury Free

A new body of figurative work curated and featuring a temporary sculpture by Sarah Boulton.
"Last year something in me broke. Following the premature birth of my youngest daughter I developed severe postnatal depression. Inhabiting the imperfection of motherhood, intimately aware of the raw vulnerability of the body and self, I surrendered to a humbling lack of control. Drawing with my daughter held close to my body, her presence began to direct the marks I made - both literally as I used my hands interchangeably to smudge pastels and dip feathers into ink to strike the page, and figuratively, as her weight and warmth against my chest led me to draw from a place of love. I've experienced a willingness to carry and be carried during the making of this work – I don't feel wholly responsible for the figures that emerge, but I do wish to honour their fragile flesh and serpentine emotions." Katherine Sheers
Katherine originally trained in textiles at Chelsea College of Art before designing lingerie in London, Sri Lanka, China, Hong Kong and New York. Her early career spent creating the most intimate of garments informed her ongoing artistic exploration into what we choose to conceal and reveal of ourselves. Sarah works with words and events to explore expectation, absence and the idea of 'for ever'. She graduated from Slade School of Art in 2015 and has presented exhibitions and poetry sets in London, Edinburgh, Cambridge and Tbilisi. Her texts have been published by Tender Journal, Best British Poetry Anthology and New York Tyrant. www.katherinesheers.com, @s_rahboult_n.
An artists' supper will be held on 21 May, featuring an opening night performance by Sarah Boulton. Contact The River Café for details. Booking essential.

Unicorns, almost

Meet the Creative Team

Friday 25 May 2pm, The Poetry Bookshop, The Pavement, Hay Free

Unicorns, almost is a new one-man show about the life and work of the World War Two poet, Keith Douglas, opening at The Swan hotel on 24 May. The writer Owen Sheers (The Passion, Mametz, Pink Mist) and director John Retallack will be joined by actor Dan Krikler. Includes readings and book signing.

Vanguard on Tour: Poetry

Sat 2 June 7pm, The Poetry Bookshop, The Pavement, Hay Free

Come to The Poetry Bookshop’s gorgeous new location in the centre of Hay for readings from some of the most dynamic new voices in poetry: Lily Blacksell, Patrick Davidson Roberts, Alexandra Payne, Peter Raynard, Richard Skinner and Zoë Skoulding.

Art Workshops At The Table, Lion Street 2018

[W138] Tuesday 29 May, 9.30am-11.30am £15

Charles MacCarthy
Art Workshop: Drawing Meditation

This workshop aims to help you through the repeated drawing of a still-life, to let go of the usual concerns about skill, accuracy, style or finished result and instead to experience lightness, freedom and a deepening of perception.

[W139] Wednesday 30 May, 9.30am-11.30am £15

Lizzie Harper
Learn to Draw from Nature

Learn the basics of plant structure and drawing plants and wild flowers from life, using pencil, completing line drawings and drawing darks and lights.

[W140] Thursday 31 May, 9.30am-11.30am £15

Carol Peace
Drawing Your own Head

In this workshop you will look at yourself through drawing, using a mirror and putting pencil to paper.

[W141] Friday 1 June, 9.30am-11.30am £15

Tashi Mannox
An Ensō Meditation

This workshop allows you to bring together your hand and heart of awareness in creating an ensō: a disciplined, creative practice of traditional Japanese Zen ink painting, a circle that is hand-drawn in one uninhibited brushstroke to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. No experience necessary. All materials provided.

Theatre At The Swan 2018

Unicorns, almost by Owen Sheers

Thursday 24 May - Thursday 7 June, The Swan Hotel, 5pm and 8pm £

The first full-length production of this play tells the story of Second World War poet Keith Douglas, from his childhood idolisation of an absent father through his fighting in the Western desert and his accelerated education as a poet, to his early death during the D-day landings at the age of 24. It is the story of one man's Faustian pact with a war which would both gift Douglas his unique and penetrating poetic voice and, ultimately, take it away. It is also the story of his search for genuine love and his desperate race to guide his poems into the permanence of print before his own time on Earth was spent.
Produced by The Story of Books, staring Dan Krikler and directed by John Retallack. Tickets from 20 Castle Street, info@thestoryofbooks.com, 07879 373431, or online at www.unicornsalmost.com

Walks 2018

Snodhill Castle Ruins £10, pay on the day

Saturday 26 May and Saturday 2 June, 10.30am and 2.30pm

Snodhill Castle is a complex historic site possibly originating as an Iron age fort but today dominated by the ruined remains of a Norman Castle built around 1068 by William Fitz Osbern, first Earl of Hereford. It is one of the largest Norman castles in the UK, with a unique 12-sided tower keep and twin turreted gatehouse, a massive north tower, bizarre south-east bastion, unusual and extensive earthworks and many mysteries and oddities.Historic England has funded major repairs to the castle; come and see some of the treasures revealed by the renovation work.
Tour starts from Snodhill Castle (HR3 6BG).  Entry fee includes free annual membership to Friends of Snodhill Castle). Suitable footwear and weatherproof clothing recommended. Please note that the site is hilly and not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs. Numbers are limited. To book a place, contact the Snodhill Castle Preservation Trust, info@snodhillcastle.org, 01981 550836.

Hay Tours At Hay Festival 2018

The local organisation Hay Tours runs guided walking tours around the town that are about people, places and past events in the history of Hay. They aim to provide a colourful overview to the town and its cultural heritage. They are designed to be fairly short, informative and fun.

Explore Hay’s Old Railway £6

Saturday 26 May, 2.30pm-4pm

The railway formed an important part of life in Hay for more than 100 years, preceded by a horse-drawn tram that followed the same route form Brecon to Kington. An exact replica model of the railway was recently discovered and restored by members of Hay History Group. This tour begins with a demonstration of the working model before heading across town to follow the route of the railway line from Hay Station to The Warren. It is a scenic walk of about three miles on mostly flat terrain and incorporates town pavements and farmland footpaths with some stiles. Tour begins and ends in the centre of Hay outside the Cheese Market, Memorial Square, HR3 5AF.

Armstrong Murder Trail £6

Tuesday 29 May, 2.30pm-4pm

Major Herbert Rowse Armstrong was the only solicitor in the UK ever to be hanged, on 31 May 1922. He was convicted of murdering his wife with arsenic. He worked in Hay and lived in Cusop. This two-mile walk takes in the relevant sites to explain the story of the events. The walk leader will suggest Major Armstrong should not have been convicted upon the basis of the evidence given at his trial. Tour begins at Hay Cheese Market, Memorial Square, HR3 5AF, in the centre of Hay and ends at Cusop Church, with an optional group walk back into Hay.

Hay Bookshop Tour £6

Saturday 2 June, 10.30am-11.45am

A tour covering the history of the bookshops of Hay, explaining the development of the book trade in the town. The history of the bookshop buildings, often architectural gems, is also given. Tour starts and ends outside Hay Cheese Market, Memorial Square, HR3 5AF, in the centre of Hay.

Further Information on Hay Tours Only

We strongly recommend booking tour places in advance. Group size is 16 max. Tours will leave promptly at the given start time. Please arrive a few minutes early to ensure that this is possible. All Hay Tours walks are designed to be strolls around the streets of Hay and immediate environs. These are not hikes, so are suitable to all ages and fitness levels. Children welcome if accompanied by an adult. Dogs welcome too, if kept on a lead. The tours will go ahead in poor weather, unless conditions are exceptionally poor. Tour guides reserve the right to turn away latecomers or those without an advance booking.

About Hay Tours

Hay Tours is a community enterprise (haytours.org) managed by Hay History Group, promoting the cultural heritage of Hay by offering friendly, informative, guided tours of the town and immediate vicinity. All profits are put back into the organisation to cover its costs and ensure future sustainability. The our guides are trained local volunteers who enjoy bringing to life Hay's fascinating history, much of which can be uncovered by walking along the main streets.