HowTheLightGetsIn Returns to Hay for its Biggest Festival Yet

24 – 27 May 2024


“Back to Big Thinking” The Guardian

“Asking vital questions about life” The Telegraph

 “A multi-faceted gem” Time Out


Following a 15% growth in attendees in 2023, the world’s largest ideas and music festival returns to Hay-On-Wye for what is set to be its best attended festival yet.


The intellectual and entertaining are inseparable at HowTheLightGetsIn. Catch the likes of Peter Singer, Slavoj Zizek, and Gillian Tett alongside critically acclaimed musicians and comedians over the May bank holiday.

Following the theme ‘Dangers, Desires, and Destiny’, the festival will be a remedy to online echo-chambers, uniting speakers across disciplines to chart tangible solutions to the crises of our era.


HowTheLightGetsIn Hay Festival returns to its idyllic home on the banks of the River Wye for a bank holiday weekend of interdisciplinary talks and panels, music, comedy and cabaret entertainment. Running from the 24th- 27th May, over 100 speakers and 80 performers will converge on the site at the foot of the black mountains, with cutting-edge thinkers sharing a stage with pioneering artists shaping the music industry.

HowTheLightGetsIn has grown exponentially over the past 14 years since its inception. With a growth of  over 15% in attendees at the 2023 festival, and Early bird tickets for 2024 selling in record numbers, HowTheLightGetsIn Hay 2024 is set to be the busiest festival yet.

The upcoming festival’s first line up announcement boasts Nobel Laureates and global thought-leaders, including mathematician and Hawking collaborator Roger Penrose, "the most dangerous philosopher in the West" Slavoj Zizek, pioneering philosopher of morality Peter Singer, former director of the CIA David Petraeus, chair of the Financial Times Gillian Tett, and influential pro-Palestinian historian Ilan Pappe. With physicists sparing with cultural critics and AI experts musing alongside feminist philosophers against the backdrop of music and comedy, HowTheLightGetsIn is without parallel on the UK festival scene.

This year’s theme Dangers, Desires, and Destiny will allow festival goers to interrogate the existential threats of our era and potential paths forward. With panels bringing together thinkers across political divides and fields, guests can escape internet polarisation and engage in-person with speakers to reach the crux the issues. Debate topics include ‘Morality and the Universe, ‘The New Sacred’ and ‘Darwin Verses Consciousness’, with hosts pushing speakers to not just speak around the issue but rather provide tangible and radical ideas for change.

As put by philosopher and editorial director of the festival Hilary Lawson, “We look not only to philosophers, but to scientists, novelists, and artist. The big questions are present in every field, and new philosophical ideas are as likely to appear in literature, history or science as they are in philosophy.”

HowTheLightGetIn proudly brings together the UK’s most vibrant and forward thinking artists. This year is set to be no different, with Mercury nominated Sea Power, 2022 Album of the Year winner Hercules & Love Affair, legendary dub icon Mad Professor and a collaboration with BBC Hereford and Worcester already announced. On the comedy front previous headliners have included TV-favourites including James Acaster, Ivo Graham and Philip Wang – with this year’s headliner soon to be revealed.

Tier Two tickets are currently on sale and students and under 25s get a 30% discount on tickets.

Check out their website here and don’t miss out on our special offer of 20% off full festival tickets using the code INSTPHIL24 here.