The world’s biggest festival of music and philosophy dubbed HowTheLightGetsIn Hay will be held in London at Hampstead Heath on 17th/18th September and will be led by Mercury Prize nominees Gwenno and Django Django.
The festival is hosted by the Institute of Art and Ideas, an organization that wants to change the cultural landscape by pursuing and promoting “big ideas, boundary-pushing thinkers, and challenging debates.”
Gwenno Saunders has been nominated for the Mercury Prize alongside artists such as Harry Styles, Sam Fender, and Little Simz for her third album Tresor – with lyrics in the language she learned as a child from her father, a poet, Tim Saunders.
Django Django, the British art rock based in London will also be present at this year’s event. Their single “Glowing in the Dark,” the titular track of their album with the same name was released in February last year.
Their album uses sci-fi imagery to travel to a new and less anxious world and promises a feeling of hope.
The South London-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is fresh from an appearance at Latitude and dropped the raw 20 Something Blues EP earlier this year.
The album is an exploration of life in your 20’s and discusses depression, break-ups, and dating apps.
Other expected London-based artists that will support the Mercury Prize nominees at the world’s biggest music and philosophy festival are Rosie Frater-Taylor, Malie Hayes, Rosie Alena, and Michael Clark.
Some of the world’s biggest thinkers from across the world of philosophy, politics, journalism, sm, and music will speak at this year’s event. They include Yuval Noah Harari, Richard Dawkins, Slavoj Žižek, and Roger Penrose.
The latter will come up against Pulitzer prize-winning writers, Nobel laureates, and members of Parliament, sparking conversations that will shape the intellectual landscape for decades to come.
Harari, Dawkins, Penrose, Elliott, and Žižek will lead debates on a program of more than 300 events across the bank holiday weekend. Other expected events that will be held during the festival are Hat Sessions, IAI Academy, Solo Talks, Inner Circle, and IAI School.
The festival takes its name from Leonard Cohen, the legendary Canadian poet, and singer who died in 2016 at the age of 82. He is well-known for a set of powerful lyrics from his song “Anthem,” off the 1992 album The Future.
His message of hope in darkness was particularly striking for many in the wake of the US election:
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”