The Festival area is generally safe and pleasant. As in any situation with large crowds, be sure to remain aware of your surroundings. To enhance the overall visitor experience, we partner with the Downtown Berkeley Ambassadors and supplement regular Berkeley Police Department presence with additional event security.
We will continue to monitor and adhere to the current best practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Access to indoor programs requires proof of full vaccination (at least two shots), or a negative PCR/NAAT, COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 test result from within the past two days (or one day for an antigen test), along with photo ID.
- Masks must be worn at all times during indoor events. We request that you use N95 or KN95 masks where possible.
- The exhibitor fair is held outdoors, so no proof of vaccination will be required to enter, but we encourage you to mask up for your own and others’ safety.
- With the exception of programs at the Freight & Salvage, book signings will be outdoors on “Bookstore Boulevard” in the exhibitor fair. Masks are required when approaching authors for book signing, and we ask that guests keep a respectful distance for the safety of authors. No guests may take pictures with authors at the signings.
To access the indoor programs — whether you’ve purchased a Priority Ticket or a general admission wristband — show your vaccination card to a Festival staff member at any venue or box office throughout the weekend to get your “COVID-screened wristband.” You only need to do this once for the whole weekend (as long as you keep your wristband on).
If you’ve purchased a general admission wristband or a Priority Ticket, you can save time and get your COVID-screened wristband early! Staff will be available at the Language Studies Institute at 2015 Center St. in downtown Berkeley on Thursday, May 5th from 7pm-8pm and Friday May 6th from 10am-2pm. Bring your ticket/receipt, and vaccination proof, to pick it up then. Note that because you’ll receive the “COVID-screened” wristband, you’ll need to keep it on from that point through the festival.
General Festival FAQ
How do I purchase tickets?
Go to to our Schedule page, select “Get Tickets” for the program(s) you want, and follow the instructions to check out. Your ticket(s) will be emailed to you from [email protected]. You can purchase Festival wristbands here. Priority Tickets will be scanned at the door, so print and bring your tickets, or have them ready to show on your digital device. For General Admission Wristbands, take your wristband ticket confirmation to any venue or either of the box offices at the event, where your ticket confirmation will be scanned and a volunteer will put a wristband on you.
I’m having trouble buying tickets online. What should I do?
What is your refund policy?
Festival tickets are non-refundable/exchangeable but they are transferable, so any tickets that you end up not being able to use may be given to friends. All they will need is the unscanned ticket(s) PDF (printed or on a mobile device). Note that any ticket may be used only once.
I can‘t find the ticket I purchased.
Your tickets were sent to you from the email address [email protected] and should be in your inbox. (Check your spam folder if not).
If you still cannot find them, please email [email protected] with the first and last name of purchaser and, time permitting, we will resend your tickets.
If you need to, go to a box office and ask them if they could look you up in the ticketing system to resend your email to your phone.
How much do tickets cost?
We have two types of tickets: Priority Admission Tickets (good for entry into one indoor session with a secured seat) and a General Admission Wristband (good for entry into all indoor sessions, but no seat guaranteed; note that some sessions might sell out from Priority Tickets). We also have some specially priced events, such as the Keynote.
Priority Admission Ticket $12
General Admission Wristband $15 Weekend Pass
Roam the Festival! Buy a General Admission Wristband and go to as many events that interest you on Saturday and Sunday. The General Admission Wristband line will offer access to all seats after the Priority Ticket line is let in. General Admission seating begins 10 minutes before the session start time, and will be on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on seating availability. Bring your PDF ticket (printed or on your mobile device) with you to any Box Office or any venue, and staff will scan your ticket and give you your wristband. Once you have your wristband on, you do not need to be scanned again.
Tip: Want guaranteed seats for a particular session but just to drop into others?
If you’d like the option to see at least two sessions (or more!) beyond your special one, it’s most economical to get a Priority Ticket for the one, then a General Admission Wristband for roaming the rest. If you want to maximize your time at the Festival and be sure to get into all your chosen sessions, the safest bet is to get Priority Tickets for all. We keep ticket prices very low so you can access what you want! You can order everything at the same time on our Tickets page.
Do you have any discounted tickets?
In-person Festival FAQ
What is the Festival’s COVID-19 vaccination policy?
Access to indoor programs is limited to individuals who have completed a full course* of the COVID-19 vaccine. Show your vaccination card to a Festival staff member at any venue or box office throughout the weekend to get your COVID-screened wristband. You only need to do this once for the whole weekend (as long as you keep your wristband on).
Want to make sure you have your wristband ahead of time? Staff will be available at the Language Studies Institute at 2015 Center St. in downtown Berkeley on Thursday May 5th from 7pm-8pm and Friday May 6th from 10am-2pm.
Failure to provide proof of vaccination will result in the inability to attend any indoor programs at the Festival.
*Consistent with U.S. CDC-approved or other country’s internationally-recognized public health agency’s guidelines, you will be considered fully vaccinated based upon the following criteria:
— You will initially be considered to have received a full course of vaccination two weeks after the date on which the final shot of your initial vaccine regimen is administered.
Note: Attendees do not need to provide proof of vaccination to enjoy the Outdoor Fair and stages.
What is the Festival’s mask policy?
All attendees will be required to wear a mask inside our indoor venues.
Masks are encouraged, but not required at outdoor programs and the Outdoor Fair, with the exception of book signings, where we ask attendees to wear a mask to be in close contact with our authors. There will not be any photographs taken with authors at the Signing Area. Please allow the authors their personal space out of safety and comfort.
Will Festival staff and speakers be following the vaccination requirement?
Yes! All Festival staff, volunteers, and speakers are required to be fully vaccinated.
Should I come if I’m not feeling well? Even if I tested negative for COVID-19?
The Festival requests that any attendees who are not feeling well, are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, or who have been infected or exposed to COVID-19 within 5 calendar days of the Festival not attend the event in person. Many of our sessions will be available online to live-stream or watch later. Please reach out directly to [email protected] with any concerns. Thank you.
I want to go to an event scheduled for the outdoor stage. Do I need tickets or a wristband?
No, the Outdoor Stage sessions are free to the public with open seating, first-come, first-served. These sessions are very popular, so arrive early.
What do I do if I need an ADA accessible seat, or have any mobility or accessibility needs?
Priority Tickets: We ask that Priority Ticket holders with accessibility requests come to the venue 30 minutes before the program start time and inform the event staff of their request so that they may be seated ahead of the doors opening to all Priority Ticket holders.
How do I make a request for a Sign Language Interpreter?
We will have 2 available-on-demand / roving interpreters who will get ‘scheduled’ on a first come basis, by email and ticket reservation. If you want to see a talk and need services, please email [email protected] to request an interpreter for that specific talk. We will confirm whether there is still interpreter scheduling availability and whether the show will have those services via an email reply. Once you receive an email confirmation, you can then go purchase a Priority Ticket ($10) for that show. We can’t guarantee a seat to interpreted shows without a Priority ticket.
We will put an Interpreting Services Icon on the session/show once confirmed on our website so others can see it when perusing the schedule.
What can I expect at each venue?
All indoor venues will have two lines. The Priority Ticket line is for people who have bought a $10 ticket to that session. They go in first, starting at 20 minutes before the program is scheduled to begin. At 10 minutes before the session start time, the General Admission Wristband line goes in and takes all the rest of the seats on a first-come, first-served basis. Note, there will be no free standby. (For free events, try any of our outdoor stages in the park.)
What if I didn’t get a wristband or ticket in advance and just show up at the venue?
You’ll still need either a ticket (if you want to join the Priority line) or a wristband (for the General Admission line). But you can buy them on the spot via our Tickets page on your phone and just show your ticket. Ask one of our door staff if you need help. Or, go to the closest Festival Box Office (see locations below) and get tickets or a wristband, then return to the venue.
It’s the day of the event and I don’t want to use my phone to buy tickets or a wristband, but I want to go to indoor sessions.
You can purchase tickets and wristbands at one of our Box Offices on site (see locations below).
I have a wristband, but I don’t want to bother to wait in line if there’s no chance of getting in.
Can you get information in advance about a session’s capacity? Definitely. If a session is sold out, we’ll say that on the Schedule page on our website. (Refresh to see the latest.) Or, go to one of the Festival Box Offices on the day of the event, and staff can inform you about the event’s status. Or, go directly to the venue, and the door staff will give you a sense of capacity. We’ll monitor the General Admission line at each event and will inform people about any prospective cutoff.
I’m coming to the Festival both days. Do I have to keep my wristband on overnight? What if I take it off Saturday night but plan to return Sunday? Do I have to go to the Box Office again?
When you pick up your wristbands, you’ll get two physical bands, one labeled Saturday and the other Sunday.
Can I pick up wristbands for a friend?
Yes, but you’ll have to bring their purchased wristband ticket, and each will get scanned and can’t be used again.
Where will the Festival box offices be located?
You’ll find our box offices located throughout the Festival for easy access:
- at The Downtown Bart Plaza
- M.L.K. Jr. Civic Center Park at the corner of Milvia and Allston Way.
Box offices will be open from 9am-6pm on Saturday and Sunday.
You can buy Priority Tickets to individual sessions or General Admission Wristbands with cash or credit card at any box office, or on your phone any time for an instant ticket! Wristbands can be picked up at any box office or at the indoor venues right before your session, but are only SOLD at box offices.
Virtual Festival FAQ
Virtual Festival overview
Our Live Streams and Watch Later Passes are viewable on desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and select smartTVs. Our virtual platform lobby runs directly through your web browser and then lets you enter the correct zoom webinar. You can view the event in the browser, or through zoom.
A Note About Internet Connectivity
The Bay Area Book Festival is not responsible for your individual internet connection. If you are experiencing any of the following:
- your video is buffering
- your video is constantly loading
- your video is choppy
- your video is constantly freezing
This is most likely due to your internet connection, and we cannot provide technical support. Our best advice would be to quit the program, restart your computer, and re-log in to see if that helps.
Live Stream details
Live Streamed sessions take place at a specific date and time. The session you are viewing is happening in real time. They are viewable at the listed date and time, just like an in-person event. We will also send you a link to rewatch the event on May 15th, and it will be available to you on demand for a month.
How to watch the virtual Festival
Links to virtual content will be delivered to your email address once you’ve reserved your ticket.
In your ticket confirmation email, you will see a blue or gray button with the name of your virtual session(s). This is the button that will direct you to your virtual content. If you’ve purchased multiple virtual sessions, they will be listed under this section.
Please note, we have found that some email clients do not display the blue button. That’s ok, there should still be a link to view your session(s) in that same location.
We’ll send you a reminder email a few hours before your event that will also contain this link.
On the date of your Livestream event, approximately 10-15 minutes before start time, click the link to open the virtual platform. You will be welcomed through our browser lobby to the correct zoom webinar.
We have found that Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge do not work well with our virtual platform. Please attempt to connect via another browser, such as Chrome or Firefox.
In order to view your event, you must accept the terms and conditions of the platform and enter the access code provided in your confirmation or reminder email. The access code can be found directly below the access link. If you are clicking the link from your email, the access code should automatically populate.
How do I view the sessions on my mobile or tablet?
Virtual performances are accessible by any internet connected device (computer, tablet, or mobile) and can be viewed by opening the link provided in the confirmation email in any web browser app. The lobby will then direct you to the correct zoom link. you can watch in the browser, or go to zoom.
Virtual Festival dos and don’ts
Virtual Festival dos
DO test your connection ahead of time! You can click your ticket link at any time. Entering the virtual platform ahead of your Live Stream or Watch Later session will not prevent you from doing so again at the event time.
DO use a modern internet browser to view your session. We have found that Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge do not support our virtual platform. Please attempt to connect via another browser, such as Chrome or Firefox.
DO troubleshoot. If your screen freezes or loses sync with audio, refresh your screen. If that doesn’t work, check your internet connectivity. If your connection is interrupted, you can still go back and click your ticket link again to rejoin the stream.
DO contact us if you cannot find your confirmation. Sometimes, our confirmation and/or reminder emails go directly to junk or spam folders in your email. If you cannot locate your confirmation, please email us at [email protected].
Virtual Festival don’ts
DON’T pause, rewind, or fast forward your Live Stream. Live Streams happen in real time. Interrupting your stream may cause you to miss the ending. However, if you are watching a Watch Later session, you can use these features.
DON’T share your ticket. Your access link allows you to view on one device at a time. If you share your link, and that person joins after you, you will be booted from the platform.
How to watch the sessions on a TV
Virtual events must be viewed in a web browser, whether that is on your computer, tablet, mobile device, or smart TV. You may choose to connect your computer to your tv screen using an HDMI or VGA cable, or with many smart TVs, you can stream the video directly on your TV.
For best practices on streaming to your TV, see device specifics below:
Apple TV/Airplay: First, make sure both your Apple devices (i.e. iphone and Apple TV) are on the same WiFi network. It is recommended to open and begin watching the video on your selected Apple device and then click the airplay icon in the top right corner of the video to cast the video to your Apple TV.
Smart TV: If your TV has a web browser app, it is recommended to log into your email account first on your TV. Next, open the email containing your show specific link and click the button link to watch. This should open a new window, pulling in your unique access code and the video player. The video should start automatically, if not, click play.
Amazon Fire Stick: In order to watch on with your Amazon Fire Stick, you must first download the free browser, Amazon Silk.
- Download App: https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-com-Amazon-Silk-Web-Browser/dp/B01M35MQV4
- Using this browser, log into your email and open the show specific link and click the button link to watch. (You may need to click the request desktop site in the top menu to read the whole email.)
- Allow the browser to leave the page.
- This should open a new window, pulling in your unique access code and the video player. The video should start automatically, if not, click play.
Roku: First, make sure both your mobile device and Roku device are on the same WiFi network. In order to watch on your Roku device, you must first download the following app on your mobile device for $4.99 and follow these steps:
- Download App: https://channelstore.roku.com/details/150902/mirror-for-roku
- Add the Mirror for Roku channel to your Roku device and then open the channel.
- On your mobile device, open the Mirror for Roku app and mirror your device to your Roku device.
- Open the link from your email in your mobile browser, rotate your device and click play to watch it full screen.
- Turn the volume off on your mobile device to enjoy!
Chromecast is not supported from a mobile device, however, it can be used to stream from a computer using the Chrome browser.
Can I view this content offline?
Unfortunately not. Bay Area Book Festival virtual performances need to be streamed via a reliable internet connection.
How many times can I watch the performance?
Live Streams are just like attending a live, in-person session; the session begins and is only available at the start time indicated in your confirmation.
After May 15th, the essions are available to watch as many times as you like, for a month.
How to contact us for assistance
Prior to the Festival and throughout the Festival weekend, we will have staff monitoring the inbox of [email protected]. We will answer questions as quickly as we can.
For additional questions about tickets, please email us at [email protected].