Music Thursday, March 24th Words by: Adam Knight

Philosophy and music in Hay-on-Wye: Ghostpoet, Gilles Peterson, Owen Jones heading to How The Light Gets In festival

Music Thursday, March 24th

Philosophy and music in Hay-on-Wye: Ghostpoet, Gilles Peterson, Owen Jones heading to How The Light Gets In festival

There’s two weeks each year where the great and good of the cultural world take a break from picking up Mercury Prize nominations and talking killer robots Stephen Hawking, and head to the sticks.

Specifically they head to Hay-on-Wye, a small town on Welsh border synonymous with the book trade.

But while the literary festival may have cornered the market on free newspapers, chinos and world-leading authors, just five minutes down the road a second festival has grown up.



A free-wheeling mash-up of ideas and music, How The Light Gets In leaves no edge uncut – and the 2016 line-up, featuring 700 events, is arguably is hippest and heaviest yet.

Those Mercury Prize nominees? HTLGI has three of them from the 2015 edition: C Duncan, ESKA and the bespectacled storyteller who soundtracked my autumn with his track Off Peak Dreams, Ghostpoet.


And that guy chewing the fat with Stephen Hawking? That’s Nobel prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek who, in 2014, penned a letter with the nation’s favourite cosmologist warning that the discovery of Artificial Intelligence, could be mankind’s greatest and its last.

You don’t get that on Mock The Week…

Mr Wilczek headlines a list of speakers and philosophers and former London mayors who will each turn your head inside out in 45-minute intervals.

The 11-day festival, held at the Globe in Hay, has always been a touchstone for the curious and the cultural. Each event is like a TED talk with a Q and A.


The tent-hopping intimacy of the venue means you get to see Michael Howard flinch when festival favourite and lefty journalist Owen Jones lets rip. It lets you put your hand up and ask questions of legendary philosophers like John Searle in a way that you never could up at The Big Festival.

But the real revolution in recent years has been the musical line-up, and the sprawling vintage fairground of a campsite that has sprung up across the river to accommodate gig-goers.

The Big Three aside, the Class of 2016 also includes DJ sets from Annie Nightingale and Gilles Peterson – arguably the best of the BBC – and another from Zero 7, the ‘Waiting Line’ band who have putting out some of the best chill-out beats since back when Britney was in the charts.

You can throw in to the mix indie darlings King Charles and fiddle-playing folk legends, the Fairport Convention – and the list just goes on and on. You can view it in full here.

And, one more thing, how many festivals have a pop-up, sit-down restaurant from one of Bristol’s best, Bell’s Diner, right on site. And a spa.

Tickets are going fast, you can get yours here or through the festival's Facebook page here.

And for any other information, from FAQs on yurts to young people, check the HTLGI site here


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