It's the end of May, probably raining (well, this is Wales after all) and thousands of people are travelling to a field in the market town of Hay on Wye. 'What for?' you ask yourself. To visit the Hay Festival of Literature - and tour the 30 or so book shops situated in the town! Now in its 21st year the Festival is more popular than ever and this year it runs from 22nd May to 1st June.
The first Festival in 1988 was planned around a kitchen table! Peter Florence (the Festival Director) and his father had the idea to invite friends to listen to writers in the beauty of the Brecon Beacons. The festival grew and grew and is now held over ten days and attracts thousands of visitors. Originally the events were held at venues around the town but now a 'village' is constructed just outside the town. It is interesting to watch developments as I travel to and from work, as the field is transformed to a small village complete with several marquees, portaloos, small sheds, chairs, tables and all the other many bits and pieces that are required to make the site into a leading literary Festival venue. Other fields are opened for parking, something which has been a problem in the past. Although the site is within walking distance of the town there are shuttle buses to and from the town and one of the stops is just outside Rose's Books!