AUG. 21st - 25th, 2023

Forward Fest is taking place as a hybrid event in 2022. Please join us for 30+ events August 15 to 19, 2022.

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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 Virtual Only Pass at no cost thanks to our sponsors. All Forward Passes (including the free one!) include access to the Forward Festival app. Once you register on the Forward Fest app/web app, 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?

In June, 2023, the full Forward Fest event calendar will go live, along with registration links. 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. You'll need to add each event to your personal calendar and agenda to be fully registered, at which point event organizers can communicate with you directly. If you have trouble or need help, please contact us at

What's the latest re: Forward Fest and COVID-19?

Events will happen both in-person and virtually this year. Check each event on our schedule and sort by in-person or online. We are committed to the safety of our attendees, event organizers, and the community. Please use good judgement and abide by the requirements set forth by Dane County Public Health and the CDC recommendations. If you have questions on any mask or vaccine requirements for individual events, please email the event organizer or

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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.