Hay Festival sells out, more tickets printed

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.

Full schedule of the Hay Festival Maldives

Minivan News is a media partner of the Hay Festival Maldives.


5 thoughts on “Hay Festival sells out, more tickets printed”

  1. " .. former president’s luxury yacht “Arumaaz” ...."

    Do you want to correct that?

  2. It's all very well printing more tickets for a general public that took it's time as usual to come forward and buy them in the first place. The problem with doing this means more of the people coming who simply want to have a good look at Maumoon's getaway island. I found the film I attended by Mr Stern fascinating, sadly this performance had a constant and noisy ever changing audience of bored youngsters. Why the organizers said bring your kids for free under two beats me,what interest would these kids have in a literary festival for goodess sake? The transport needs to be better run so that people are encouraged to queue properly and pleas lay on more boats. After 6.30pm yesterday the plan was that the transport would start in another 4 hours, not nearly good enough. Other than these logistical issues I found the event brilliant and the lectures extremely interesting and informative, I will be attending day two and looking forward to it!

  3. bring yr kids free ey? haha

    what is it with maldivians, they want to bring their kids everywhere. not like it will be an experience for them, they won't remember anything. and nobody cares about your kids. so just keep them home let them clean their cradle or somerhing.

  4. I loved the two days and seeing people around even though they did not attend pleased me. As anywhere in the world, people do hang out and kids are taken along. On the one hand, yes it may disturb, because Maldivians are not used to these kind of things. On the other hand if people do not get exposed they will not just learn out of nothing. There was couple of young guys using mobile phone is Vilu Hall. I told gave a hand sign and they stopped. I think people will learn and we need to be tolerant.

    The purpose of such a festival is more than presentations and discussions. It is about nurturing culture, bridging people and filling in gaps in knowledge which one otherwise will not access. It is feeling connected and much more.

    Maldives is a place where the foreigners and locals do not "socialize" although they interact with each other on work issues mostly. In fact many expats are given the feeling that they should be careful about mingling with Maldivians. So very few Maldivians actually mingle with foreigners and vice versa. Although I did see effects of that during the festival, I saw that the festival helped bring them closer.

    I also think it is awesome that Aarah is open to this kind of events. It opens up new possibilities and I do hope that there will be more events taking place and I do not have to wait another year for something like this. There are so many themes that can be worked on. I also felt that this helped to lessen the gap between the countries political leadership and the people sand make them more accessible.

    What impressed me was also the youth and the strong voices that rang out. I like to see them stand up and express who they are.

    At the end of it all, it is up to the people to use this kind of events fully to integrate into the society. As Shobhaa De' put it so well, if you disconnect from the Society, the society will disconnect you. So I really hope to see more Maldivians out there and more families and more young people and and and...

    Thank you to everyone who made this festival possible.

  5. Well said, Aminath! As an expat, I couldn't agree more. It was wonderful to see everyone enjoying themselves together. The Maldives and the Maldivians really deserved an event like that.


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