A guide to Virtual Festivals.

We’re big fans of the potential of virtual, but a lot have wondered:  how does it work? Well, we’re not the first to have ventured into this field, so here’s a look at some festivals and events in the virtual world to have come before us to give you an idea of what goes on.

stanzaDistant Voices

We had thought for a while we were the first in Scotland, but it turns out we aren’t! The earliest we’ve heard about is Distant Voices, back in November 2009. The one day poetry  festival gathered poetry enthusiasts worldwide from the comfort of their own couches, organised by StAnza, the brilliant international Poetry Festival in Scotland. From Mumbai and New York to Sacramento and Skye, their event really rallied an international audience and was years ahead of the curve. Read more about it here.

ebookEdinburgh eBook Festival

Running from 2012-2014, the festival took on a theme each year and put on a massive amount of events: over 100 in 2012, and a staggering 177 in 2013 across a month. Their themes Redefining Reading and Writing, Beyond the Margins and History and Homecoming allowed them to explore these topics in massive detail, attracting thousands of visitors, and vibrant discussion. During the event’s lifetime, eBooks moved from being on the margins of publishing to being a core factor in competitiveness.

romance.pngRomance Festival

The HarperCollins Romance Festival‘s latest year took over a weekend to discuss everything from Brokeback Mountain 10 years on, to the power of romance in Young Adult Literature and movies that inspired authors’ books. Their mantra is that to truly be for the fans of the genre, they have to remain publisher neutral and put on what they believe to be the best programme for the audience.


The Science Fiction Festival was another all-encompassing celebration of genre. From hosting a short story competition and a film poster design one, there were lots of chances to get creative and involved. Participants ranged from Margaret Atwood to space scientist Erik Laan via Twitter chats to Google Hangouts, giving opportunity to delve into both the science and the fiction.

These are just a few who have hosted full on festivals. The beauty of online is that these type of events exist on varying levels of scale, and in isolation, across the world. From author Q&As to live streams, there’s a lot that can be done online, wherever you are, and for minimal to no cost. We hope you like the look of what’s gone before us, and maybe look forward to what we’re planning all the more for June!

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