Friday, 22 May 2009

Hay-on-Sky for the festival virgin

As a Hay Festival virgin, I duly believed everything I'd been told about this event. It will rain. It will be cold. There are apocalyptic amounts of mud. I will need more clothes for Hay than a combined trip to the Alps and the Bahamas. It sounded like I was being sent to Kabul. After day one, I'm still alive to write this so I suspect it's not as bad as Kabul.

During the drive here, the roads got progressively smaller until it was just a tiny lane barely the width of a small car. I fully expected to hit a cow. I thought I saw a dog shepherding sheep on a big field, until I realised the sheep were running away from my car. I felt like Jeremy Clarkson -a shorter and younger version, I hasten to add- driving the narrow lanes with a tad too much speed. Occasionally I stopped to take photos, which were to serve as evidence of good times should my rally skills fail me. A dinner and a late night wander around Hay trying to locate one of our crew houses later, we were ready for the festival.

It's been an excellent first day for the Sky Arts team. The first Hay-on-Sky programme featured the comedienne and impersonator Jan Ravens, author Horatio Clare and food critic Jay Rayner, with music from Asian Dub Foundation. Everyting went more or less to plan and the guests and Mariella were all on brilliant form. What The Dickens? saw the recording of its first episode finish just a little while ago to a packed audience, and featured Rick Wakeman's impromptu opera about a hanky. It's compulsive viewing, and shall be on the Sky Arts website very soon indeed!

So far it hasn't rained a drop. It's not that cold (she writes, sitting next to the radiator on full blast). I haven't had to utilise my brand new wellies yet because there is no mud on the site. I am, however, sad to report that while everyone else in the Sky Arts team are now donning their new Sky Arts branded wellies, mine came two sizes too big and looked like I was wearing a canoe on each foot. Not a sight that would promote any brand, I can assure you.

Tomorrow is another day of excellent guests and events so shall keep you posted on progress.
Sari - editor in field

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