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FAQs 2016

General Info about the Festival

Q: What types of events can I expect to see at Split This Rock?
A: The festival includes a wonderful variety of activities! The daytime sessions include three kinds of convenings: group readings, panel or roundtable discussions, and workshops. In addition there will be readings by featured poets, open mics, public activism, programs for youth, and a party. Also, you’ll have the opportunity to meet poets and activists from all over the country while exploring Washington, DC.

Q: Once I get to DC, where do I check-in and get my festival badge? Do I need to bring anything to check-in?
A: If you have pre-registered, you can pick up your badge and program book at the pre-registration table in the Equality Forum at the Human Rights Campaign Headquarters located at 1640 Rhode Island Ave. N.W. The closest Metro stations are Farragut North and Farragut West. The 16th Street S (S2, S4) Bus Line also serves this location.

STUDENTS: Please bring your student ID with you to check in. We encourage everyone to give yourself extra time to check in before attending your first session—lines can get long, especially on Thursday and Friday mornings. Please wear your badge to all events.

Q: May I register on-site?
A: Yes. On-site registration is available at the Human Rights Campaign Headquarters located at 1640 Rhode Island Ave. N.W. The closest Metro stations are Farragut North and Farragut West. The 16th Street S (S2, S4) Bus Line also serves this location. Please give yourself extra time to check in before attending your first session—lines can get long, especially on Thursday and Friday mornings. Please wear your badge to all events.

Q: How do I find out the schedule in advance for festival events?
A: Visit the Program & Schedule page for the most up-to-date listing of festival events. You may also consult the festival mobile app once it is live. Please note the schedule is subject to some changes due to unforeseeable cancellations. However, the majority of the schedule will remain unchanged. Once you arrive at the festival you will also receive a copy of the schedule in your program book. Large-print versions of the program book will be available, upon request.

Q: What days of the week are the festival held?
A: The festival officially begins on Thursday, April 14 and ends on Sunday, April 17. On Wednesday, April 13, there will be a special Library of Congress kick-off event featuring Juan Felipe Herrera. Stay tuned to the Program & Schedule web page for the latest details.

Q: What times are the festival events scheduled throughout the day?
A: Festival events begin each day around 9:30 am. Daytime session run for 90 minutes, with a minimum of 30 minutes between sessions. Please give yourself extra time to check in before attending your first festival session, as there can be long lines. Readings by the festival’s featured poets are Thursday and Friday evenings, Saturday afternoon and evening, with an after-hours open mic or party each night. A final featured poet reading and closing ceremony is held on late Sunday morning, concluding by 1pm. We hope you’ll stick around for it all!

Q: There are so many sessions! How many should I attend?
A: Attend as many events as you like. When making your schedule for the week, keep in mind that you may need time for sleeping, eating, socializing and visiting Saturday’s book fair. We include an hour break for lunch and two hours for dinner.

Q: Who plans the Festival events? Who chooses them?
A: Split This Rock solicits session proposals during the spring and summer prior to the festival, through an Open Call, and sessions are chosen by a committee comprised largely of Split This Rock staff, board, and festival planning committee members. You can read about how the featured poets are selected here.

Q: How much does it cost to register?
A: For full festival registration, the early-bird rate is $100. After February 14 (or onsite at the festival), registration is $140. The student rate for full festival registration is $50. The day rate is $60. Presenters receive special rates ($85 prior to February 14 and $100 afterward). Scholarships are available.

Q: What if I can't afford to attend?
Consider volunteering at the festival. People who volunteer for at least 5 hours receive free festival registration and a t-shirt! Learn more on the festival Volunteer web page. Additionally, scholarships are available. Submit your request via the online application form by Thursday, March 31. If the form is not accessible to you, access the instructions as a Word document here. Please note that requests submitted by mail must be postmarked by Friday, March 25.

Q: Is the festival accessible to people in the disability community?
A: Split This Rock values individuals of all abilities and strives to make its programs and materials accessible to all. The festival’s venues and hotel were selected with accessibility in mind, to ensure that people with mobility disabilities can attend. Large print program books will be available at the festival registration table by request. If you have questions or suggestions or would like to request accommodation for a particular need, please contact us at or 202-787-5210. 

Q: May I bring my baby to the festival?
A. We welcome nursing mothers and parents with babies under the age of 1 to join us for the festival. In doing so, we trust parents to consider their infant's disposition and use discretion to avoid causing a distraction during activities.  For help finding a private space for breastfeeding, parents may visit the information table at the Human Rights Campaign.

Q: Should I wear perfume or cologne to the festival?
A: The Festival is a  **Fragrance-free** space. Guests are asked to please refrain from wearing perfume, cologne, or other synthetically scented or perfumed products including clothing freshly laundered with chemical detergents.

Q: What if I have other questions?
A: Contact Split This Rock at or (202) 787-5210.

Registering for the Festival

Q: How do I register?
Visit the festival registration page once registration goes live. Register early! Early-bird rates offer great savings.

Q: How do I know I have registered successfully?
A: You will recieve an e-mail confirmation immediately after you register online, or within 7-10 business days of receipt of your hard copy registration form. (Please note mailed registration forms must be postmarked by Friday, March 25.) You will not receive tickets in the mail. STUDENTS: Please bring a current student ID to the festival.

Q: Do I have to register for each individual panel or reading that I want to attend?
A: Your festival pass entitles you to entry to all festival events on the days for which you are registered. You may attend any session you wish. Please show your badge to gain entry.

Q: What do I do if I'm interested in registering a group to attend the festival?
A: Contact us directly if you would like to register a group at or by calling 202-787-5210. We offer group rates for groups of 8 or more.

Q: What if I need a refund?
A: We are able to refund your registration within 60 days of your payment. No refunds are given after that date. If you have questions, email us at or by calling 202-787-5210.

Presenter FAQs

Q: If I am presenting at a session, do I need to register for the festival?
A: Yes, all presenters must register for the festival. Presenters receive special discounted rates: $85 if you register during early bird regisration, and $100 after February 14, 2016. Festival registrations include admission to all events, readings, and the book fair for the duration of the festival. Meals, lodging, and travel are not included. For information on lodging please visit the Where To Stay section of our website. Scholarships are available! Instructions on how to apply are available online and via Word document.

Q: How should I prepare for my panel presentation, group reading, or workshop?
A: Be sure to plan in consultation with your fellow panelists or readers, if yours is a group session. Split This Rock festival participants value the discussion and give-and-take that takes place in these sessions. Please design yours to encourage participation and dialogue. Remember, too, that participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds; some have formal poetry training and some do not. Please define any specialized terms you use and do your best to assure that everyone’s along for the ride. Facilitators: Please make sure that your events begin and end on time. If you are part of a group reading, choose your material in advance, rehearse and time your reading including preparatory remarks to ensure that your reading falls within the allotted time.

Q: May I change the description of my event or list of participating panelists before the festival?
A: The main contact for your session should submit any proposed changes to Split This Rock by December 1, 2015 at or 202-787-5210. If unexpected changes occur after December 1, please contact us as soon as possible.

Q: Is it possible to use visual aids and/or handouts in my presentation?
A: Sure! Speakers who bring handouts are encouraged to prepare at least three copies in large-print format (boldface 14 to 16 point font size) for attendees with visual impairments. Please have copies made on white paper stock only. Allow ample time when referring to a visual aid or handout, or when pointing out the location of materials. (Please note: A/V equipment requests are due by December 1. See next question.)

Q: Can I request audiovisual (A/V) equipment?
A: The main contact for your session has been asked to submit equipment needs, as well as any other special requests related to your session, by December 1, 2015. Each of our venues provides different resources. We will do our best to accommodate your request given these differences.

Q: If I am unhappy with my room assignment and/or time at the festival may I request a change?
A: Split This Rock will make every effort to account for location and time preferences. The main contact for your session has been asked to submit special requests related to your session by December 1, 2015. We will do our best to accommodate these requests. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the festival and venues, once the schedule is set we will have very little room to consider scheduling changes.