Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival X Land Rover Weekend

Words by
Sphere Life

31st May 2019

With talks by the great and the good, a chance to test-drive the new Range Rover Evoque and the ever-ebullient Sunday party, it was an epic Bank Holiday getaway

This weekend Sphere decamped to the Hay-on-Wye festival with Land Rover to try out their new Range Rover Evoque, and to take in some of the excellent talks on offer.  Setting out on Saturday, we wove our way down through the verdant countryside, the petrol version of our old Evoque markedly speedier, with less lurch and the car eating up the Welsh curves. Some style motifs have been taken from the Velar, such as the hidden door handles that appear on opening, and the much improved digital infotainment system (although there was a blip in the climate control on the return journey).  There is more boot space in the back and a nifty new feature where the rear view mirror turns into a video camera to film the traffic behind, if the seats behind are stacked high with people or luggage.


Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival X Land Rover Weekend

The new Range Rover Evoque

The Land Rover team hosted us at the wonderful Felin Newydd house, set amidst rhododendron bushes and rolling pastures. On Sunday we headed early to the festival for a day of talks. Kicking off with a panel discussion hosted by Country and Townhouse magazine on what makes a good brand, former minister for culture Ed Vaizy led an insightful talk with jeweller Annoushka Ducas, Geordie Willis of Berry Bros & Rudd, Edeline Lee and Born Award founder jean Christophe Chopin. Ducas gave a (not unsurprising) insight into the ‘Kate’ effect of the Duchess of Cambridge wearing her jewellery, and the erudite Geordie Willis talked about the need to innovate constantly, even more so if you are a brand of over 300 years’ old.


We took in the history of calculus during further talks, and enjoyed snippets read by Stephen Fry, Simon Schama and Sarfraz Manzoor at the last talk of the day, hosted by the excellent Marcus Brigstocke.

Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival X Land Rover Weekend

Dancing into the night


The social highlight of the weekend was the party held at Cabalva House with GQ and Land Rover – the tenth they have held together at this beautiful setting. Lashings of Bollinger against an auspicious sky, and canapés of smashed pea bruschetta and tempura prawns made for a jolly kick off. The rain held off and we headed into the marquee resplendent with garden flowers and fairy lights, with guests including Melvyn Bragg and Dolly Alderton. Dinner by Soho House was, as ever, a true feast, with Wye Valley asparagus, lamb shoulder hot pot and Westcombe cheese to finish. The literary great and the good took to the dance floor with gusto, with Simon Schama and Matthew D’Ancona showing particular enthusiasm.


With the mixture of high and low culture, bucolic calm and socialising and of course the chance to try out the new Evoque, it was a weekend to remember.


landrover.co.uk; the new Evoque costs from £31, 295