High streaming figures for Hay Festival Digital first weekend

High streaming figures for Hay Festival Digital first weekend

Hay Festival Digital events were streamed over 210,000 times in the virtual festival's opening weekend (Saturday 23rd May to Bank Holiday Monday, 25th May), with people from more than 63 countries tuning in.

Live sessions are being streamed via Crowdcast, offering users the opportunity to interactive with fellow audience members and pose their questions to speakers. An overflow option is also now running on YouTube due to "overwhelming" opening demand. Events are free, with a donation option available.

The opening weekend incuded events with Elif Shafak, Maggie O'Farrell, Ali Smith, Philippe Sands and Stephen Fry.

Festival director Peter Florence said: “It’s been an astonishing and exhilarating weekend. The writers and artists have created extraordinarily rich and thrilling new work. We couldn’t ever have imagined how audiences in 63 countries would respond with such warmth to the intimacy of being in writers' houses, nor how powerfully the stories would land in this strangest of times. This new, global Hay crowd is reinventing the festival, and offering tantalising opportunities for the future. I am amazed by the sheer brilliance and ingenuity of my colleagues who are making this play. It’s a joyful adventure.”

Hay Digital runs until 31st May, with authors still to come including Hilary Mantel, Anne Enright, Roddy Doyle and David Mitchell, Simon Schama and Hallie Rubenhold, and an evening of Shakespeare with Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West.