2 December 2013

On Location: Hay Winter Festival 2013

Why go to Hay in the winter?  Well, even without a festival going on, Hay on Wye is definitely worth a visit. Known for its Literature Festival every summer, you might not realise that this small border town also hosts a Winter Festival.  As well as offering a number of seminars and workshops relating to books, as you would expect from this world renowned 'book town' the Winter Festival 2013 included a Food Festival on Saturday, and 'Hay Does Vintage' on Sunday.  So with masses to see and do I packed up 'Tonks', my tiny camper van, and set off for a festival weekend.

A camper van is ideal for attending this festival.  Powys Council is one of those much appreciated authorities which permit motorhomes to park overnight in their car parks, provided you only stay 1 night in any 7.  As the main car park in Hay is less than 10 minutes walk from the centre of the festival activities, it is a perfect location. You do however need to arrive early if you want to find any space at all!

My plan to was do some street photography, as well as attend some seminars and buy some books.  I did some of that on the Saturday.  A seminar on women in business was interesting and informative, and the food festival provided a bag of tasty looking provisions… but an increasingly bad headache and a very crowded town meant I retreated back to the van for pain relief and a couple of hours sleep.

Feeling a bit better in the early evening, but not up to hauling my DSLR kit about, I picked up my 'van cam' - the light and excellent quality Panasonic Lumix  LX5 which is always in my van - and set off to do some low light shooting.  

Not far from the van is the Hay Cinema Bookshop.  The floodlighting was illuminating more of the trees than the shop!  

Lots of the Hay shopkeepers had made their windows striking, but I think this display was my favourite.  

'7 swans a swimming, 
6 geese a laying, 
5 go-o-ld rinnnngs' 

All lovingly knitted!  
Aren't they great?

And yes, the entire knitted cast was on display!

Sunday meant an early start to beat some of the crowds up to the 'Hay Does Vintage' stalls. Once again I had the LX5, as I was Christmas shopping as well as photographing, which meant juggling hands and gear!

On the way I noticed this 'stairway'.

The first stall was nearly ready, and looked very inviting - despite the back-to-front Union Jack…

Both on the stalls and in Hay's own shops, there were all sorts of treasures to be found!  
Rocking tractor, anyone?

What a great address!

In short, Hay's Winter Festival is an absolute delight of a weekend.  Lots to see and hear, interesting shops to visit, wonderful second hand book shops, and quirky streets, details and shops for the photographic eye.  Put it in the diary for next year.  I'll definitely be back!

(There's lots of information about Hay's Festivals on their very comprehensive website.)

And I can definitely recommend the Oxford Road car park as a great place to stop for the night for anyone with a camper van - and it isn't often you can recommend a car park!

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