The Hay Festival Maldives has sold out of tickets for the events at the presidential retreat of Aarah this weekend, with many Male’ residents ringing around trying to desperately obtain tickets at the last minute.
The Hay Festival launches this evening with a free concert held at the artificial beach in Male’ from 8pm until midnight. The line up includes an acoustic number from singer songwriter Appi and Fa’thu, the reggae rhythms of the Dinba Family, Bodu Beru drumming, Fasylive Silver and retrospective Hindi-pop from The Olympians.
The meat of the Hay Festival – two days of speaking sessions, storytelling and lectures by local and international luminaries and screenings of films such as the documentary End of the Line at, begins tomorrow at Aarah. Workshops for students will be held on Sunday.
Despite a slow beginning – less than 10 tickets were sold on the first day they went on sale – huge last minute demand has forced organisers to issue 200 more tickets for each day.
“We had to go back to the printers and get more tickets made up,” said Maldives Hay Festival spokesperson Aishath Fasohath. “We’re now expecting 1,000 people on each day. It’s been very successful, we very pleased.”
The additional tickets will be on sale at the launch this evening.
While the national and international line-up is impressive, with renowned authors such as Ian McEwan and Jung Chang mingling with climate scientists and local historians, lending the event its moniker ‘the Woodstock of the mind’, many Maldivians are curious to see the island used by former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as a private retreat.
The Maldives government has not stated what it plans to ultimately do with the island, while the former president’s luxury yacht “Arumaaz” is to be sold at Saturday’s international boat show.
Most recently Aaarah was used to detain Abdulla Yameen, Gayoom’s brother-in-law and leader of minority opposition party the People’s Alliance (PA), after the government accused him of vote-buying and treason.
Ferry transfers to Aarah for Hay Festival ticket holders will depart throughout the weekend from jetty four in Male. Police will be conducting random bag searches prior to embarkation.
Friday 15 October:
Male’ to Aarah: Ferries will run from 2pm-3pm, and one at 5:30pm.
Aarah to Male’: One ferry will depart at 6:30pm, with multiple services running between 10:30pm-11:30pm.
Saturday 16 October
Male’ to Aarah: Ferries will run from 9am-10am, with a single service at 11:30am and 3:30pm.
Aarah to Male’: Ferries depart between 10:30-11:30pm, with a single service at 12:30pm and 4:30pm.
Minivan News is a media partner of the Hay Festival Maldives.