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Ekow Eshun

Hay’s Calling

One of the UK's hidden gems, Hay's Calling provides a refreshing autumn diversion as one of the most diverse music and art festivals

November sees the return of one of the UK’s hidden gems. Forget the encroaching cold and the depressing teatime darkness. Escape to Hay for Crunch: The Art and Music Festival at Hay and banish the winter blues.

You won’t find exclusive VIP areas, aggressive security or self-publicising wannabes here. The Art and Music Festival at Hay goes beyond all that. It platforms a genuine and earnest artistic appreciation, opens it doors to the sort of people you want to be your mates and nurtures an informal atmosphere that allows all of us to properly talk to each other. Where else could world renowned artists mingle with emerging starlets, supermodels and academic theorists?

This year, artists, philosophers, politicians, novelists, sociologists, critics and scientists will come together to ask the big question: what's the point of art? 

The festival kicks off with ‘The Point of Art’, in which senior curator at the V&A Lauren Parker, writer and critic Godfrey Barker and author of Seven Days in the Art World Sarah Thornton will open up this year’s theme with three different perspectives on the purpose of art.

Elsewhere, Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed will be discussing his prolific career and artistic motivation before taking to the stage with his trusted acoustic guitar to showcase some of his own musical compositions.

Renowned artist and YBA Marc Quinn will be talking to human rights advocate and style icon Bianca Jagger about his frequently controversial and deeply provocative work.

In the outdoor heated tent, Crunch will be hosting The Great British Art Debate. Tate curator Cedar Lewisohn asks ICA Director Ekow Eshun, BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz and Serpentine Director Julian Peyton-Jones what sort of art should be shown in our public galleries and museums? And, more importantly, who gets to decide?

The eclectic line-up also includes Founder of The Museum of Everything James Brett, Dazed favourite Matthew Stone, musical prodigy Brian Eno, critic and broadcaster Matthew Collings, journalist Paul Morley, shooting stars Lulu & The Lampshades and BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz.

The weekend’s music highlights are set to include unofficial cool kids about town- and IKEA superstars- Man Like Me, DJ queens the Broken Hearts and Mercury nominated folk siren Laura Marling. Martin Scorsese favourite Richard Strange will be overseeing proceedings, and, fresh from supporting Calvin Harris, Clean Bandit will craft a precision blend of electronica, hip hop and classical music complete with four piece string quartet and live MC.

Partnering with Dazed Digital, Hay's Calling are offering readers an exclusive EarlyBird Festival Pass here

Text by Bianca Brigitte Bonomi