Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hay’s up

And so the programme for next weekend’s Hay Festival in Trivandrum is up, finally. With 49 sessions across three days — November 12 to 14 — it seems a pretty full schedule.
Most of the usual lit fest suspects are featured on the programme, but then so are a handful who aren’t regulars on the lit fest circuit; so perhaps all is not lost. And on the subject of lit fest programming, the Hay Fest seems to have borrowed an idea from last month’s Kovalam Literary Festival in Trivandrum — have a session with the Prime Minister’s daughter and some wall-to-wall buzz is guaranteed. At the very least, it will boost audience numbers since a little army of security men will need to be around!
At the Kovalam Lit Fest it was Daman Singh and at Hay it seems it will be Upinder Singh. Of course, I am assuming that the Upinder Singh featured on the Hay Fest programme is the historian Upinder Singh, who happens to be the Prime Minister’s daughter. But I think that is a safe assumption to make.
The grapevine initially said that the Hay Festival would be a ticketed event, but the Web site now says that ‘day passes’ will be free. So better sense seems to have prevailed on the tickets issue, given how abysmal the turnout was at last month’s Kovalam Lit Festival at the same venue; the Kanakakunnu Palace. And remember, entry to the Kovalam Lit Fest was free and the festival itself has been in Trivandrum for a few years now.
Of course, the Hay Fest is hawking ‘delegate tickets’ at Rs 1,500 per person per day — they include lunch, access to all sessions and a delegate kit. Why anyone would want to shell out 1,500 bucks a day for a meal and a delegate kit beats me; there are lots of interesting places to eat and drink in a 3 kilometer radius of the festival venue, so it must be the delegate kit that is the big selling point. Perhaps, each day’s delegate kit will be unique, custom-made and will come stuffed with special goodies!
Now, if the North East Monsoon showers would just stay away.

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