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The Hay Festival: Sustainable Impacts on a Small Welsh Town

Ian S. Jenkins, University of Iceland, Department of Geography and Tourism, Iceland.


The Hay Festival has emerged as one of the leading festivals in the UK. It has developed from a small rural festival in 1988 to being a literary global signature festival. This case explores the exponential growth of a small rural festival and illustrates the economic benefits to a rural community while also identifying the issues of sustainability of a large festival in a small rural town on the Welsh–English border. Environmental and community integrity have now become a challenge for the festival.


Origin: Adapted from previous work in the book Literary Tourism: Theory, Practice and Case Studies by Ian S. Jenkins, CAB International, 2019.


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