26TH – 29TH MAY 2023


World’s largest festival of philosophy and music returns to Hay





HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest ideas and music festival, has revealed its headliners for the upcoming HowTheLightGetsIn Hay 2023 event, taking place from the 26-29th May 2023 in the idyllic booktown of Hay-on-Wye. From Nobel Laureates and Pullitzer-Prize winners to political activists, HowTheLightGetsIn boasts an unparalleled gathering of the world’s leading thinkers. This year will see none other than firebrand philosopher Slavoj Žižek, key adversary to Trump Fiona Hill, celebrated philosopher Daniel Dennett, superstar string-theorist Brian Greene, visionary economist Gillian Tett, masterful novelist Esther Freud and Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose, amongst a wealth of other notable speakers.  

With over 300 events spread across 12 stages, each debate is set up to scrutinize the ideas behind the news stories and our approach to the world. Some of the highlights will be Slavoj Žižek locking horns with Rowan Williams, and Richard Wrangham over The End of Good and Evil, alongside Lisa Randall, Martin Cohen and Neil Turok clashing over cosmic anthropocentrism in The Centre of the Universe. Other debates not to miss are Ancient Traits in a Modern World, Taking Leave of Reason and Guesses, Errors and Economics.

Following the theme Error and Renaissance, the festival will see thinkers across the fields of philosophy, science, politics and art come head to head to work through our present moment, find new ways of understanding the world and rebuild afresh.

Despite the festival’s wealth of cutting edge debates, inspiring solo talks and thought-provoking interviews, HowTheLightGetsIn is not just for the mind. From Welsh Music Prize-winning songwriting legend Gruff Rhys and Mercury-nominated experimental composer Anna Meredith to BRIT Award-winning indie legends Belle and Sebastian and Mercury-nominated Radiohead collaborators Zero 7, every taste is catered for with the festival’s eclectic and forward-thinking music lineup.

HowTheLightGetsIn is not about exclusivity or VIP parties – everyone at the festival takes part in the debate to play a key part in the conversation and challenge the ideas put forward to them. Whether you’re discussing string theory with a Nobel Laureate in a coffee queue or dancing next to a groundbreaking philosopher in the disco tent, every corner of HowTheLightGetsIn has an unmissable experience in store.  


Get 20% off festival tickets with discount code PHILNEWS23. Tickets for the full weekend are available now. Students and under 25s are eligible for a 30% discount.

For details please visit https://howthelightgetsin.org/festivals/hay


For more information, images and press passes, please contact Charlotte Churcher on charlotte.churcher@artandideas.org


A UK first. Back to big thinking” –  The Guardian

 “The philosophy festival where you bump into a Nobel Prize winner in the coffee queue– The Independent

Asking vital questions about life” – The Telegraph

Not to be missed” – The New Statesman

A multi-faceted gem” – Time Out