Full Programme Released

23-24 SEPTEMBER 2023

“Back to Big Thinking” The Guardian

“Asking vital questions about life” The Telegraph

 “A multi-faceted gem” Time Out



HowTheLightGetsIn is set to gather ground-breaking philosophers, theorists and Mercury Prize winning musicians for a weekend of unparalleled cultural exploration.

Alastair Campbell, Carol Gilligan, Rory Stewart and Peter Singer (via Zoom) alongside Badly Drawn Boy and Deborah Frances-White are a taste of the speakers, musicians and comedians headlining the packed line-up.

The Festival celebrates its 5th anniversary in London, with the theme 'Dangers Desires and Destiny' at Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, from 23-24 September.



HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, has released its full programme ahead of its upcoming return to the idyllic Kenwood Gardens in London this 23-24 September. Renowned as a hub for world-leading philosophers, politicians, scientists and artists, the festival will explore the theme ‘Dangers, Desires, and Destiny’ to mark its 5th anniversary in London.

Previously attracting Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer-Prize winners, political activists and world leading commentators, this year’s programme promises nothing less of an eclectic mix of cutting edge thinkers. With speakers spanning chart-topping political commentators Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart, to notable feminist philosopher and psychologist Carol Gilligan world leading ethical philosopher Peter Singer (via zoom), infamous actress and writer Ruby Wax, pioneering theoretical physicist Michio Kaku and prolific Financial Times economist Martin Wolf, there’s something for everyone at HowTheLightGetsIn.

Following its best attended festival yet at HowTheLightGetsIn Hay earlier this year, the upcoming London edition is packed with more than 150 speakers, performers and comedians across 120 events in 12 venues. Expect to see pioneering thinkers lock horns in fiery debates alongside Mercury- nominee musicians, comedians and cabaret performances as they grace the stages throughout the day and into the night.

Addressing the theme Dangers, Desires, and Destiny, debates and talks will interrogate what an increasingly dangerous future may hold, and our desire to change this fate. Expect panels confronting the existential threats of our era, on topics including ‘Rationality in the Dock’ exploring whether reason is simply a pretence of objectivity, and ‘The Trouble with Time’, addressing whether everyday experience is just an illusion. Talks span equally heady topics such as ‘Epiphanies, Ethics and Experience’ and ‘Uncovering the Secrets of the Universe’. From theoretical physicists sparing with feminist thinkers, to philosophers musing alongside award-winning authors, HowTheLightGetsIn gathers world-leading thinkers to curate a weekend of mind-expanding discussion.


Unlike any other festival, through a whole host of extra events, HowTheLightGetsIn invites its attendees to philosophise alongside the speakers headlining the line-up. Whether its learning from Yale professors in Academy courses, picking the brains of top journalists over a glass of prosecco in Philosophy Salons, or communing with philosophers, scientists and artists in luxurious four-course Long Table Banquets at HowTheLightGetsIn, you will be immersed in the conversations shaping the academic and political landscape.


With a finger on the pulse of musical talent, HowTheLightGetsIn has been headlined by BRIT award winners and chart toppers alike. This year sees Mercury Prize Winner Badly Drawn Boy, headline. The indie legend will be joined by queer glam-rock band Walt Disco, whose edgy aesthetic and avant-pop sound had them shortlisted for ‘2022 Scottish Album of the Year’, and Blair Dunlop whose unique folk talent earnt him the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Horizons award. Partnering for the first time ever with BBC Introducing London, HowTheLightGetsIn will also fill its stages with the city’s most promising up-and-comers. On the comedy front, the programme brings together the sharp political humour of Deborah Frances-White, host of the award winning The Guilty Feminist Podcast, with Fringe-favourites including John Tothill and Leila Navabi for a weekend as entertaining as it is enlightening.

A dream festival for the ideas-obsessed and music-enthusiasts alike, HowTheLightGetsIn offers a truly unique weekend of mind-expanding talks and vibrant performances not to be missed.

Tier Three tickets are currently on sale. Students and under 25s get 30% off.

For more information on HowTheLightGetsIn, including the full festival programme, click here. As partners of the festival, The Institute of Philosophy is delighted to offer readers a 20% discount on full festival tickets using code IPL23 on checkout. Get your discounted tickets here. To explore previous festival debates and talks check out the festival's online platform IAI.TV.