Hat Fair is the UK’s longest running festival of outdoor arts. Founded in 1974 by Jonathan Kay, Hat Fair inspires and is inspired by the people, heritage and public spaces within the city of Winchester.
Our aim is to shine a light on the city, transforming the everyday into the extraordinary.
Initially conceived as a busking festival, Hat Fair takes its name from the tradition of the audience showing their appreciation by putting money in the hat at the end of the show.
These days most of the festival’s artists are paid a fee to perform for free to our audiences. However, we still uphold the hatting tradition by inviting a dozen or so of the world’s best street performers to ‘hat’ at the festival each year – we offer a contribution to their travel costs and provide food and accommodation for them during the festival, but they are primarily paid through the generosity of our audiences.
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