Well Drifters, it’s another week of us staying indoors, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t explore. When the body is still, the imagination can soar. And to keep those thoughts constructive and aspirational, the Bay Area Book Festival (BABF) has just the ticket – and a (mostly) FREE one to boot.
Join the #UNBOUND virtual book fest this weekend
BABF is launching its virtual fest #UNBOUND this coming weekend May 1-3, 2020. A central theme for this year’s festival is Voting Rights, and it’s a topic that will be featured in collaboration with a dozen other book festivals around the country. Other tracks include Health & Wellness (How to deal with loss? How to stay sane with isolation?) and Youth content ranging from picture books to young adult publications. The agenda reinforces the importance of art and literature during trying times.
Enjoy content for all ages & engagement with fellow attendees
Programming this weekend is catered to adults in the evenings and to kids on Saturday/Sunday morning. Further literary sessions will be offered throughout the month of May. Presentations will be available through YouTube Premiere where you can chat live with fellow attendees, and a select group of ticketed programs will allow for live Q&A with the authors. As previously mentioned, most events are FREE, but if you are able and value the work of this great organization, consider making a donation HERE.
Mark your travel calendars for May 1-2, 2021
Like many entities juggling the new normal of social distancing, the Bay Area Book Festival team was able to execute a swift pivot from their typical in-person event in Berkeley, CA that garners 25,000 attendees and 250 speakers from around the world.
We had the opportunity to speak with the festival’s PR Director Julia Drake who shared more about the organization’s history and economic impact. Founder Cherilyn Parsons started the festival in 2015. It quickly developed an international reputation and is typically televised through C-SPAN2’s BookTV. Three full-time staff, nine contractors, and hundreds of volunteers help to pull it off each year. Planning typically starts in September of the year prior and sneak peeks go live in March. The festival has a $1M operating budget and is projecting a $200K-$300K revenue shortfall due to lost sponsorships, weekend pass sales, and other income streams.
If you enjoy the virtual format, a future visit is worth considering. Then, you can take advantage of the outdoor book fair, the Grow a Reader family zone, performance stages, and delicious food trucks. BABF also supports local booksellers by highlighting area shops that carry the featured titles. Unfortunately, that element will be dampened with the virtual format, but all is not lost. Small-business oriented patrons can still support independent book merchants at Bookshop.org.