Charlotte Church and Nish Kumar have pulled out of this years Hay festival due to sponsorship links with Israel.

The pair are part of a growing number of stars and writers who have boycotted the event due to the sponsorship Baillie Gifford who are described as "one of the top European investors in illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine".

The writers have also objected to its management of fossil fuels which the company said was only two percent of their investments – lower than the average of 11 per cent.

Ms Church, who aside from her successful singing career runs a wellbeing retreat in Rhayader, said such investments were not a matter of “checks and balances”.

In a statement online she said: “I will be boycotting and not attending in solidarity with the people of Palestine and in protest of the artwashing and greenwashing that is apparent in this sponsorship.

“This is not a game of checks and balances. Your art festival is not more important than the lives of Palestinian children and the future of healthy ecosystems on earth.

“We are at a critical stage in the world where we must demand transparency, accountability and consequences for those profiting from destruction of life on earth. If the art world continues to take this dirty money, we all become complicit."


Comedian Nish Kumar has also said that he felt he was unable to take part.

In a post online he said: “Sad to say that I will be pulling out of Hay to support this campaign. Love the festival and the people that work in it, but this was the right decision for me.”

He also referenced comments from author Naomi Klein, who has also pulled out from the event, who said: “Literary Festivals rely on the labour of writers, editors and translators.

“We donate our labour because we love to gather and meet our readers, but we have the right to demand that these gatherings divest from the forces causing death and destruction on an unfathomable scale.”

These boycotts follow an open letter being signed by over 200 writers including best-selling author Sally Rooney, journalist George Monbiot calling for the removal of the company’s sponsorship of a number of literary festivals.

Julie Finch, CEO of Hay Festival Global said: “Like so many charities, we are operating amongst huge financial uncertainty. Sponsorship is a complex ethical space to navigate. Where Hay Festival Global is offered funding, we consider this carefully in relation to our charity’s purpose and the Charity Commission guidelines.

“This week, Fossil Free Books has issued a statement asking authors to boycott our next edition in protest over one of our sponsors, Baillie Gifford, and their investment portfolio. Their statement has been challenged by Baillie Gifford.

“We have requested additional information from Baillie Gifford and continue to work to safeguard our events as free and respectful platforms for exchanging ideas. We remain committed to reaching the widest possible audiences through our work and presenting one of a kind events in the heart of the Welsh countryside next week.”