New Yorker Festival Sets 21st Annual Edition In October, But In Virtual Form

Patti Smith and David Remnick speak on stage during the 2019 New Yorker Festival. The festival will continue in 2020, but in virtual form. Brad Barket/Getty Images for The New Yorker

EXCLUSIVE: The New Yorker Festival, which has become a cultural fixture in New York over the past two decades, has confirmed it will hold its 21st edition in October in virtual form.

As with most public events, even in a gradually reopening city far from the dire state it was in during March and April, the risks of social gatherings amid climbing nationwide COVID-19 infection rates are significant. The festival in recent years has attracted more than 20,000 attendees, at a range of venues, most of which can seat hundreds or even thousands.

This year’s festival will be held from October 5 to 11. The Condé Nast brand promises “an eclectic mix of conversations, performances, and experiences,” with plenty of influential and notable participants. Programming and pricing details will be announced September 8. Ticketed events will stream live online and then be available for on-demand replay afterward.

The new way of presenting the fest will enable people well outside of New York City to experience the festival for the first time. For city dwellers, though, the magazine also plans to feature a range of activities that will happen both inside and outside of their homes. Organizers said that slate includes culinary experiences, screenings and opportunities to explore the city and its culture. In-person editions of the festival have often featured musical performances, stand-up comedy, political chats, cooking demonstrations, architectural tours and other offerings.

“For 20 years, The New Yorker Festival has been about connecting people—bringing readers and fans face to face with the world’s most interesting writers, artists, actors, filmmakers, musicians, and more,” New Yorker editor David Remnick said. “This year, of course, must be different, and I’m so pleased that, in our 21st year, the spirit and essence of the Festival—deeply engaging talks and experiences—will carry on in a largely virtual form.”

New Yorker subscribers will get a break on tickets with all ticket buyers able to purchase an all-access pass.

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