With around 25,000 visitors, the Bay Area Book Festival is the largest annual literary event in Northern California attracting over 250 authors from across the globe. The two day event is held in Berkeley and with around 100 shows across 16 venues, the festival completely takes over the downtown area. There’s a real buzz in the air!
At LSI we’re not simply by-standers though. Our central location makes LSI a good base for the event organisers, using our ground floor as their production office and training centre during the festival. The school is a hive of activity during the week; LSI students beavering away in their language classes upstairs and the event’s production office in full swing downstairs. Whilst all LSI students benefit from free passes to the festival, some LSI students choose to get directly involved. By working as event volunteers, they get first-hand experience of working at a large festival event, definitely worth adding to a CV!
The whole event encourages the community to get involved and promotes not just literacy and literature but more wide ranging ethical values around social and economic justice, female quality and immigration rights.
Scott Gelfand, COO of the Festival, considers LSI’s contribution as critical. “We couldn’t do this event without LSI – and are so appreciative of the warmth and generosity of spirit that Greg Wickline [LSI Berkeley school director] brings to this partnership”
It seems that it’s not only the festival organisers who appreciate LSI Berkeley’s contribution. City of Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin has noted LSI’s role as event host, praising LSI for being a key member of the downtown community.
Whilst our staff and students undoubtedly enjoy the buzz and benefits of hosting such an amazing event in our own school, it’s definitely nice to get recognition by the people at the top! Read Keita and Adrian’s experiences of becoming volunteers at the festival.Roll on next May!