August 19 - 23 • 2024


Forward Fest includes more than 40 events every August.

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Attendee FAQs

What is the Forward Pass & how do I get one?

The Forward Pass is the fastest, easiest, and the most cost-effective way to take advantage of all that Forward Fest has to offer. This one pass gets you into all the events listed on our website as included in the pass. 

There are three different options for the pass, including a Free Forward Pass at no cost thanks to our sponsors. Once you register on the Forward Fest registration page, you'll be able to add events to your personal calendar. Registering for a paid Forward Pass will unlock more events to add to your calendar. Remember to register early, as many events have capacity limits. 

How do I register for Forward Fest?

The full Forward Fest 2023 calendar is now live! Once you look through the calendar and decide which events you'd like to attend, you can choose to register for a Forward Pass for access to all of them, or register for events individually. Click on "register now" on the homepage, or "Register for a Forward Pass" on each event page.

You'll be directed to, the registration platform for Forward Fest 2023. You can see all events and their cost, capacity, and other details. In order to register, click on "tickets" at the top of the screen, and register for the ticket of your choice. Once you have a ticket, you can click on the circle next to each event to add it to your personal calendar and be fully registered. If you have trouble or need help, please contact us at

Do you have an app?

Yes! The Forward Fest app is continually updated with the most current information and event details. Search for "Forward Fest" in the Apple app store or Google Play. Anyone can access the app! Please note - you cannot buy tickets via the app, that must be done in a browser window at the website here. Once you have a ticket, log into the app using the same email address you used to register, and you can see or change the events you have registered for.

If you have questions, contact

I registered for a ticket, why won't it let me add events?

If you registered for a ticket but are still getting a "you need a ticket" pop up error message, it may be because the registration and ticketing sites take a moment to sync. Go get a cup of coffee and then try again, and it should work. If it doesn't, please let us know! Email and we'll do our best to help.

How do I get Forward Festival events on my calendar?

Once you have registered for a ticket and chosen sessions, you can choose to add those sessions to your Apple, Google or Outlook calendar. In order to sync, your profile must be set to public. Then, click here, scroll down, and find the links for your chosen calendar sync. You can add only the events you're registered for, or all Forward Fest events to your calendar.

I have a ticket. Now what?

Once you have a ticket on the Forward Fest registration platform, it's time to add events to your personal calendar! You can view the schedule as a list, a grid, or by venue. To register for an event, simply click on the open circle next to the event name, or hover over the event and click "Add to Schedule". This will register you, and let the event organizer know you plan to attend. This also adds the event to your personal agenda, which will be emailed to you each day of Forward Festival and can sync to your personal calendar.

If your plans change, please remember to go and remove that event from your agenda. The event organizers thank you!

Is there any place where I can get news and updates on the WI Startup community?

Yes! Click here to subscribe to the Startup Digest email to get monthly news and updates.

Event Hosting FAQs

How can I get more involved in Forward Fest?

Forward Fest has a Board that sets overall direction for the Festival, and several committees who work on promotions, tech and outreach. We’re always looking for more volunteers to help - let us know if you’re interested!

Can I host an event during Forward Fest?

Anyone can host an event during Forward Fest, as long as the event:

  • Is open and inclusive

  • Cross-promotes the Festival and other events

  • Is related to entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity

How do I host an event during Forward Fest?

The first step to hosting an event is filling out the event form on the website. Once you’ve submitted, we’ll follow up and let you know of any questions.

Where do I host my event?

You can choose any venue that you like in the greater Madison area; there are no required or “central” venues during the Festival. We find that events near downtown Madison often get more attendees than those farther away, but it’s totally up to you. Let us know if you need suggestions! 

This year, many events will be virtual, and we can help you figure that out. Please contact us with questions.

What does the Forward Fest team do?

The Forward Fest team is here to answer any questions you have and help you with anything you need! Our goal is to make this a smooth event for you and your attendees. We maintain the website, handle Forward Pass ticketing, and manage the registration system. We will provide you with social media tools and guidelines to help you promote your event, and do some promotion to our email lists and social media followers. If there’s anything you need, just ask!

What is the Forward Pass?

The Forward Pass allows access to a large percentage of Forward Festival events. As an event organizer, you can decide if you would like to participate in the Forward Pass or not. 

When someone buys a Forward Pass, they'll get access to most events and have the option to add swag like a t-shirt. Please let us know if your event has limited capacity, so we can be sure that Forward Pass holders know your event is first come, first served for them.

Do I have to pay to be a part of the Forward Fest?

You do not need to pay a fee to be part of the Forward Festival. You are welcome to host an event, as long as you follow the guidelines outlined in this FAQ.

How do I cover the costs of hosting an event?

You can sell tickets, solicit sponsorships, or ask for in-kind donations to fund your event. The Festival will recognize any sponsors that give more than $2,500 across all events (including in-kind donations, such as event space), which will get their names on signs at the Festival's 40+ events. 

In order to do that, we ask that you please let us know of any event sponsors who commit to supporting your event.

How do I get attendees to come to my event?

There will be some attendees who find your event from the Forward Fest website, app, and other promotions, or through your listing with the Forward Pass.  However, because the calendar is so busy, you should plan to get the majority of your attendees through your own network and promotions. Remember that your event can be any size you like - in fact, some of the most effective events are smaller in scale.

What is Forward Festive-ale?

Forward Festive-ale is beer brewed specifically for Forward Fest by a local brewery. You can order this beer in kegs of various sizes on the event form, and serve it at your event. An invoice will be handled through your event venue, or sent directly to the person you indicate on the event form. Please be sure you are following the alcohol service policies of your event venue, which may mean having your caterer order the beer directly. We can help if you have questions.