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Get 20% off Final Tier Tickets to HowTheLightGetsIn with ESL special discount


World’s largest festival of music and philosophy returns to Hay-on-Wye from 26 to 29 May 2023.


HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest music and philosophy festival, returns to the idyllic booktown Hay-on-Wye, Wales next week (26-29th May) with final tier tickets selling fast. 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, superstar string-theorist Brian Greene, visionary economist Gillian Tett, masterful novelist Esther Freud, Nobel Prize winning physicist Roger Penrose and pioneering activist and musician Billy Bragg, amongst a wealth of other notable speakers.  

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

With over 300 speakers and perfomers spread across 12 stages, each debate is set up to scrutinize the ideas behind the news stories and our approach to the world. A highlight will be Slavoj Žižek locking horns with Rowan Williams and Richard Wrangham over ‘The End of Good and Evil’, while Former Defence Secretary Malcolm Rifkind and leading Modi critic Shashi Tharoor go to head to head on the West’s role in a changing world in ‘New Powers and Fading Forces’. Other debates not to miss are ‘The Game of Life’, ‘Imagining the Universe’, ‘Guesses, Error and Economics’, and ‘Ancient Traits in the Modern World’.  

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, every corner of HowTheLightGetsIn has an unmissable experience in store.  

Get 20% off final tier festival tickets with discount code ESLHEREFORD23. Tickets are available now. Students and under 25s are eligible for a 30% discount.

For details please visit Explore the full programme.