August 19 - 23 • 2024

Host An Event

Check out the info below if you're interested in hosting an in-person or virtual event for Forward Fest 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Interested in hosting an event?

Event Basics

Maximum of 80 characters; used in brief promotions and short descriptions
Maxiumum of one paragraph; used to populate event page and longer promotional copy
Who is your ideal audience for this event?
What takeaways should your audience expect after attending your event?

Mission: "Forward Fest is a 5-day festival in Madison, for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs with locally organized events to connect and inspire innovation featuring all aspects of entrepreneurship."

Vision: "The Festival promotes Madison as a leading region in entrepreneurial success through supporting the growth of the entrepreneurs by connecting them with organizations, individuals, and the greater community."

Default images will be used if none is provided.
Select all that apply.
Select all that apply.

Event Details

We often see 75% or less of registered attendees show up for events, especially if they are free to attend. We recommend setting the registration capacity higher than the actual number of people your event venue can accommodate.
List any hashtags separated by commas, ie: "#myevent2024, #companyname"
If applicable

Virtual Event Hosting

Given the ever changing environment, Forward Fest is planning for both in-person and virtual events. You can find more information on our Forward Fest FAQ page.

Are you currently planning to hold your event virtually?

Please share below which virtual platform you plan to use, or if you'd like to use the Forward Fest Zoom platform.
If applicable; Forward Fest will create this if you intend to use our Zoom platform.

Financial Details

If applicable; please include all ticket types
Please list any sponsors you have currently confirmed for your event and the amount they have committed. We will compile your answers with other event organizers, and recognize sponsors who donate $2,500 or more total on all event signage.

Forward Fest Integration

Would you like your event to be part of the Forward Pass?

The Forward Pass is an all-access pass that festival attendees can purchase. Pass holders then register separately for your event to secure their seat, or they are seated on a first-come, first-served basis. A list of Forward Pass holders will be provided in advance, and you will be reimbursed for the number of Forward Pass holders that attend your event. If you'd rather not be a part of the Forward Pass, please let us know below.


How do you plan to promote your Forward Fest event?
Who will be the designated representative for media interviews? Please include name, title, cell phone number, and email address.
If yes, please share their contact information.
What are some (unique) highlights of your event that we could use as potential story ideas for the media? If you've organized this event before, what's new this year?

Forward Festive-ale

Every year, Forward Fest works with a partner to brew a beer for the Festival.

The brewery would work directly with your event venue to provide kegs, if you work with a venue with in-house catering. If you host an event in a venue without in-house catering, you'll need to pick up and pay for the beer separately. Forward Festive-ale would be available only on tap this year.

Key Dates & Deadlines

03/13/2024: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Spring Tech Kickoff event.


Event details due for listing on website


Last day to add an event and sponsors for Forward signage and event listings (can be on website if added later)


Last day to order a Forward Pass with swag


First day of Forward Festival