Home » Hay Festivals: Another Kind of Hay Fever

In dozens of locations around the globe, you’ll find a Hay Festival. These are festivals that run the gamut from writers and book readings, to comedians and musicians. They are events that strive to provide a forum for an exchange of ideas, and imagination. Their stated goal is to renew a sense of wonder and excitement while presenting different ways of looking at our world.

This may be a strong statement and big job, but if you look at the number of Hay Festivals per year, it lends credence to the statement, if only through sheer numbers. There is Hay Festival: Wales, Cartagena, Beirut, Belfast, Zacatecas, Brecon, Segovia, Nairobi, Maldives, and Kerala.

Not every Hay Festival has writers and books as the central theme. Brecon’s festival, for example, which took place in August 2010, was called Brecon Jazz, and included such. Storymoja Hay Festival Nairobi, which takes place October 2010, will include storytellers, readers and thinkers of all types…providing a time and venue for the sharing and exchange of stories.

2010 was also the year for the first Hay Festival in Zacatecas, Mexico. For this festival, it was all about one particular topic: economics.

Beirut39, on the other hand, was an April 2010 Hay Festival which strove to provide a new look at Arab writers. Why called Beirut 39? Because the festival brought together 39 of what are deemed the best Arab writers under age 39. A clever marketing move, but perhaps also a smart way to introduce relatively new writers to a world that may be much more attuned to Arab writings of yesteryear.

With Hay Festival Maldives exploring climate change, Hay Festival Segovia all about the world’s best music, and Hay Festival Cartagena encompassing multiculturism and social change, it’s clear that Hay Festivals throughout the world may have one unifying name, but are as diverse as each of the cities and countries in which they take part.

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