2023 Ticket Information

This year’s Festival offers over 100 great events—all daytime shows for free!

You can get Priority Admission (get in before general admission) by getting a Friend of the Festival wristband! Click here for more information.

The only ticketed events at the Festival are the two headliners on Saturday and Sunday night.

Our Prologue series—a suite of pre-Fest events with collaborators across the Bay Area from April 1 through May 5—will be ticketed through our partners.

Indoor and Outdoor Programs

Full schedule can be found here

All Daytime Programs

Over the Festival weekend, indoor author programs will fill multiple Downtown Berkeley venues. These daytime programs are all free of charge, and all walkup attendees will be admitted 20 minutes prior to session as space is available. We suggest you arrive at least 30 min before a session begins to get in line.

Includes Chronicle Stage, exhibitors, children’s programming, and more

The Festival’s Outdoor Fair takes place on Sunday, May 7th, in Berkeley’s MLK, Jr. Civic Center Park. It is a lively, immersive experience where readers meet writers and diverse communities gather to celebrate a love of books and reading. More than 150 literary exhibitors, free stages present acclaimed authors, and performances and fun activities for all ages abound.


Just show up and enjoy the weekend with us.

Special Access for Friends of the Festival

A Friends membership allows you to join a priority access line at all the indoor venues, making it easier for you to see your favorite authors. Plus, if there are tickets left, you’ll get one for an evening keynote.

You can join the Friends on our website at baybookfest.org/friends, or by visiting the Friends of the Festival table in BART Plaza the weekend of the Festival (both Saturday and Sunday). 

With your wristband, you can get into the Friends priority line, which will enter the venue first when doors open (20 minutes before the program’s start time).

Why “Friend” Us? All daytime programs are now FREE! – that is, free to the public, and free for you reading this page. But this giant event isn’t free to produce, to say the least.

The Friends of the Festival do what all friends do, which is lend a hand, in this case financially, with a donation starting at $150*. That very real generosity benefits everyone: it allows the organizers to bring this nonprofit festival to you for FREE.

Can you say, “With my help, everyone can attend”? Yes you CAN! Go to baybookfest.org/friends right now (easiest), or head to the BART Plaza at the festival over the weekend.

*It’s tax-deductible, of course. We’ll send you a receipt.

Headliners at the Festival – $15

Our two headliner events are both affordably ticketed at $15 each. Tickets are selling fast and you will be able to find them here and in our schedule.

Saturday, May 6: Joan Baez

Sunday, May 7: W. Kamau Bell & Kate Schatz

Joan Baez, W. Kamau Bell

Prologue Events

A suite of pre-Fest events with collaborators across the Bay Area from April 1 through May 5

This year we’re doing some things a bit differently; in April we’re launching the Bay Area Book Festival Prologue. Prologue is a full month of literary happenings all around the Bay, presented by the BABF as well as our partners. You will find everything from local nature walks, to writing workshops, and author events, to poetry slams and open mics, and more. More information

Festival Box Office/Information

You’ll find our information, merchandise and ticketing booth for easy access at our Friend of the Festival Booth, at the downtown BART Plaza. It will be open from 9am-6pm on Saturday and 9am – 5pm on Sunday.

If ticketed shows are not sold out, you will be able to buy evening Headliner tickets with a credit card at the box office, or on your phone any time for an instant ticket!

For additional questions about tickets, please visit our FAQ Page or email us at [email protected].