Adding to a string of cancelled events in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Wales’ annual Hay Literary Festival has been cancelled. Due to take place May 21-31, the festival relies on tickets and sales for 70% of income, and as a result, is now facing a significant threat to its existence. Director of the festival, Peter Florence, expressed his concerns surrounding this, in conversation with The Guardian.
As an organisation we now face a stark reality. We have ten days to raise the funds we need to support us in the coming months and secure Hay Festival 2021 and a time when we can again celebrate together and tell stories of these times
The town of Hay-on-Wye benefits greatly from the tourism aspect of the festival, as it brings in around 25m British pounds (approx 30m USD), to an otherwise low-paid area. Ticket holders for this year’s event will receive full refunds, though the organizers have set up a GoFundMe, and implore customers and the general public to offer what support they can in such an uncertain time.
Hay-on-Wye, lovingly dubbed The Town of Books, is the perfect locale for a literary festival. With over twenty bookshops, it is also considered the National Book Town of Wales.
image via hay-on-wye
This year’s festival was due to have a line up of renowned authors, booksellers, and writers, the longlist of which included; Gloria Steinem, Ali Smith, Stephen Fry, and Hilary Mantel.
It’s clear that this will be a major loss for organizers, authors, residents of the village, and book lovers alike. With any luck, and support from those who can donate, the festival will be back with a bang in 2021.
feature image via hay festival
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