The Ultimate Guide To HowTheLightGetsIn 2024
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The Ultimate Guide To HowTheLightGetsIn 2024

HowTheLightGetsIn is returning to Hay on Wye for its biggest festival to date

Fancy sharpening your mind this Spring Bank Holiday? Visit HowTheLightGetsIn 2024, the world’s largest festival of ideas, and explore music, comedy and inspiring talks on the idyllic banks of the River Wye. Here’s exactly what to expect from this year’s festival – plus how to secure your spot.

C&TH Readers Get 20 Percent Off Tickets With Code CATH24

HowTheLightGetsIn 2024: Everything You Need To Know

Inside a ten for a talk at HowTheLightGetsIn

© Sam McMahon

Following a 15 percent growth in visitors in 2023, HowTheLightGetsIn 2024 is set to be the biggest and best attended edition to date. Building on its 14-year legacy of inspiring intellect, 250 speakers and performers will gather at the gorgeous site at the foot of the black mountains from 24–27 May 2024 to deliver a weekend of over 300 events, from inspiring interdisciplinary talks to entertaining music, comedy and cabaret performances, all topped off with a selection of delicious food and drink.

What’s On At HowTheLightGetsIn 2024?


A comprehensive, multifaceted line-up of speakers has been announced for HowTheLightGetsIn 2024, spanning mathematics and science, beauty and media, politics and philosophy, and everything in between. Highlights include:

  • Esteemed French philosopher Bernard-Henry Levy
  • Actor and intellectual Paterson Joseph
  • David Petraeus, former director of the CIA
  • Activist Yasmin Benoit
  • Nobel Prize winning physicist Roger Penrose
  • Legal writer and commentator Amy Chua

…And plenty more. See the full line-up at

The HowTheLightGetsIn site in Hay


HowTheLightGetsIn’s USP is the lively interdisciplinary debates – and 2024 is no different. Drawing together artists, philosophers and scientists – who you might spot delivering solo talks elsewhere across the festival – to tackle the problems of our times, expect spirited debates spanning some of the most pertinent questions of our time, from AI to equality to theories on the entire universe.


HowTheLightGetsIn’s comedy and cabaret line-up is fit to burst with famous faces, up and comers and inevitable laughs. Highlights include Lou Sanders, Shaparak Khorsandi, Sara Barron, Patrick Spencer, Ania Magliano and Amy Gledhill, with plenty more on the bill. See the full line up at


As well as the UK’s big thinkers, HowTheLightGetsIn festival attracts some of the UK’s most vibrant and forward-thinking artists. Already announced are the Mercury Prize nominated Sea Power, dance DJ Herculese & Love Affair, dub producer Mad Professor, and up-and-comers including Mandrake Handshake, Alisa Tully, The Lovely Good and plenty more. See the full line-up at

C&TH Readers Get 20 Percent Off Tickets With Code CATH24

Four people on a stage delivering a talk

© Sam McMahon

What’s The Theme?

HowTheLightGetsIn 2024 is all about ‘Dangers, Desires, and Destiny’, striving to remedy online echo chambers by uniting speakers from across disciplines to tackle – and create tangible solutions to – the crises of our times.

Debate topics include:

  • AI and the creativity crisis
  • Imagining the unimaginable
  • Navigating the world order

‘We look not only to philosophers, but to scientists, novelists, and artists,’ says philosopher and editorial director of the festival, Hilary Lawson. ‘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.’

Four people on a stage delivering a talk

© Sam McMahon


24–27 May 2024


HowTheLightGetsIn 2024 is set on the edge of the Black Mountains, alongside the River Wye in the famed book town of Hay. The site is located just off Newport Street, HR3 5BZ.


Festival tickets start from £184, and students and under 25s get 30 percent off tickets. Early bird tickets sold in record numbers, so be quick.

Don’t forget: Country & Town House readers get an exclusive 20 percent off tickets when using the exclusive code CATH24 at checkout. Visit to secure your spot.