Choosing a Date and Securing a Venue

Your book festival planning committee should take the following factors into consideration when choosing a date and site for the event:

  • Weather-seasonal issues
  • Holidays
  • Other events occurring at the same time in the geographical location where you are holding your festival (e.g.: high school, college, or university graduations, ethnic or other cultural fairs or festivals, and so on)
  • National or state conferences happening then that will mean potential presenters/speakers or attendees might have commitments elsewhere
  • Bringing people into a locale which will reap the economic benefits from a book festival being held there
  • Using a particular site which will highlight that venue’s historical, artistic, literary, cultural, and/or educational significance

It is best to hold the book festival indoors since any kind of inclement weather can drastically decrease attendance by both participants and attendees. Book festivals are designed to attract large amounts of people; therefore your venue needs to be sizable. The site plays a key role in organizing and running this event and securing the appropriate one can be a daunting experience, because you will need to find a space big enough to accommodate:

  • Vendors - exhibit booths and tables  
  • Concurrent sessions (minimally four breakout rooms)
  • The festival bookseller’s secure area
  • Author autographing
  • A keynote address, if one is being presented, or any other session involving a bigger audience
  • An easily accessible “command post” where supplies, materials, audiovisual equipment, and so on can be securely stored
  • A dedicated entrance for attendees to enter and be greeted by festival volunteers
  • The flow of many people moving around throughout the event
  • A coat room

In addition, the venue should have restrooms, parking (optimally free), and be relatively easy to travel to either by car or public transportation. It should be an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant site with access ramps, restrooms, and parking which are handicapped accessible. Also, it is necessary to find out how increased traffic in the area will affect the surrounding community.

**It is extremely important to be aware of the need for liability insurance, so checking with the venue to see if it has such insurance in place and to what extent is imperative before signing a contract with the site.  Also, finding out the site’s fire regulations regarding large groups (500-2000 or more) is another vital detail to consider.


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