NOTE: Due to the festival’s proximity to the Queen’s state funeral, HowTheLightGetsIn has been postponed until October 1st & 2nd.
If you’re anything like Socrates, then the only thing you know is that you know nothing.
Luckily, however, you ARE about to know something… which is that the world’s largest philosophy and music festival is returning to London on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September, bringing with it a packed programme of comedy, debate, talks, cabaret and live music. It’s happening once again in the expansive grounds of Kenwood House in the middle of Hampstead Heath with a magnificent, bunting-strewn micro-village of tents, stages, al fresco areas, pop-up bars and street food stalls. All in all, there’s a tidy 200 events taking place across the entire weekend…
Having established a pretty decent reputation for themselves as Europe’s answer to TED Talks, HTLGI has gathered an impressive line-up of trailblazers, radicals and revolutionaries (and at least one ‘string theory provocateur’) for this year’s festival. Taking a seat in their festoon-lit bell tents, you’ll be able to hear thought-provoking insights from Black Studies professor Tommy Curry; hang out with multi award-winning political playwright David Hare; listen to historian of love Zoe Strimpel; meet Priyamvada Natarajan, who spends her weekdays mapping dark matter at Yale; and have your world completely upturned by non-realist Donald Hoffman (who’ll casually inform you that our brains have evolved to construct reality in a way that suits us).
Altogether, there’s nearly 40 speakers on the roster, who’ll be sharing their insights through both solo talks and group debates, where thinkers from different fields come together to discuss topics like whether maths can explain reality; if the pursuit of happiness leads to a dead end; and whether contemporary art is just the ‘ultimate advertising con’.
If all these talks and discussions leave you with more questions than you started out with (which is pretty much guaranteed), you can get personally involved by joining the eccentric Hat Sessions; a series of workshops spanning everything from philosophical wine tastings, to sessions teaching you how to land a rover on Mars. Then there’s HTLGI’s most unique experiences of all: the Inner Circles. These intimate events see a handful of festival attendees get to sit down with the speakers themselves and shoot the breeze over pastries, afternoon tea or a bottle of wine.
As the sun begins to set, all thoughts of politics and philosophy are put to bed, and the festival’s lively evening programme gets going. This year there’s DJ sets by Django Django and live performances from the likes of singer-songwriter i.am.afiya and disco vocalist Vanity Fairy. There’s also stand-up comedy with Ahir Shah, Alexandra Haddow and Ben Pope; a cosy cinema tent screening documentaries; and dazzling, tinsel-tasselled political cabaret from ‘alien siblings’ Bourgeois & Maurice.
Finally, you can fill any remaining spare seconds of your time perusing the street food market, pop-up bars and Champagne tents…
…where you’ll inevitably find that great minds drink alike.
NOTE: HowTheLightGetsIn 2022 takes place on the 1st & 2nd of October on Hampstead Heath. You can find out more, and book tickets right HERE. Nudge Members are getting 35% off tickets – log in to unlock details in the Members Box at the top of this page. Not a Nudge Member yet? Sign up for a free trial HERE.
OTHER NOTE: Due to the festival’s proximity to the Queen’s state funeral, HowTheLightGetsIn has been postponed until October 1st & 2nd.
Kenwood House | Hampstead Lane, Highgate, NW3 7JR
Looking for a culture fix? Check out our guide to The Best London Theatre Shows on now…
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