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Frequently Asked Questions about Split This Rock Poetry Festival

This page includes answers to questions you may have about the Festival. Feel free to jump up or down the page to the section or question that is of most interest to you by clicking the links under each heading.

Register for the Festival online today!
Early bird rates end Friday, January 31, 2020.

Online registration ends Friday, February 28, 2020.
Onsite registration will be available during the Festival.

General Info about the Festival

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Registering for the Festival | Presenter FAQs | Return to the Top of Page | Go to Bottom of Page

Q: What types of events can I expect at Split This Rock Poetry Festival?
A: The Festival includes a wonderful variety of activities! The daytime sessions include three kinds of convenings: group readings, panel discussions, and workshops. In addition there will be readings by featured poets, open mics, public activism, programs for youth, and a book fair. 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 check-in table at George Washington University's Cloyd Heck Marvin Center, located at 800 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20052. The closest Metro station is Foggy Bottom-GWU. 

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 Friday and Saturday mornings. Please wear your badge to all events.

Q: May I register on-site?
A: Yes. On-site registration is available Thursday at the opening night's featured reading and on Friday and Saturday at George Washington University's Cloyd Heck Marvin Center, located at 800 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20052. The closest Metro station is Foggy Bottom-GWU. Please give yourself extra time to check in before attending your first session—lines can get long, especially in the mornings. Please wear your badge to all events.

Q: How do I find out the schedule in advance for Festival events?
A: Once we schedule daytime sessions, we will post a Program & Schedule web page which will include the most up-to-date listing of Festival events. Please note the schedule is subject to some change in the event of unexpected cancellations. We expect the majority of the schedule will remain unchanged once announced. 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 in the evening on Thursday, March 26 and ends on Saturday, March 28. Additional information will be posted on a Program & Schedule web page once those details are finalized.

Q: What times are the Festival events scheduled throughout the day?
A: The Festival kicks off on Thursday, March 26. The first Featured Poet reading will be held at 7 pm and doors open at 6:30 pm. We encourage you to arrive to DC in the afternoon as a pre-reading mixer is in the works! You'll be able to check-in or register for the Festival at the mixer and immediately prior to the reading. Festival activities on Friday and Saturday will begin around 9 am and end around 5 pm. Daytime sessions 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 lines may be long. Readings by the Festival’s featured poets are held nightly at 7 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. On Thursday and Friday, readings are followed by an after-hours open mic. 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 breaks in the schedule for lunch and dinner.

Q: Who plans the Festival events? Who chooses them?
A: Split This Rock solicits session proposals during the spring and summer the year prior to the Festival, through an open call to the Split This Rock community and the general public. This year, we received a record 205 proposals, and each proposal was reviewed and rated by at least 3 readers before final decisions were made. A final selections committee -- recruited from Split This Rock staff, board, Festival planning committee members, and community members -- met to make selections among the top rated sessions. You can read about how the featured poets are selected on our website.

Q: How much does it cost to register?
A: For full Festival registration, an early bird rate of $150 is available until Friday, January 31, 2020. After that date, registration is $200 when purchased online. The student early bird rate for a full Festival registration is $50 and becomes $75 after Friday, January 31, 2020. The Festival single-day rate is $100 until online registration closes on Friday, February 28. Presenters receive special rates ($120 until January 31 and $150 afterward). Large Institution registration rates for the full Festival are $250 for the early bird period and $300 afterwards. On-site registration rates are $225 for the full Festival and $120 for a day pass. Registration subsidies are available for those who seek them. We estimate the true cost of the Festival to be at least $300 per person and we ask everyone who can to pay at that level. For those with a greater capacity, please consider giving an additional amount in order to subsidize those who aren't able to afford that cost. Thank you!

Q: Why have the registration fees increased a bit this year?
A: Split This Rock is committed to making the Poetry Festivals financially accessible. We keep fees low, offer a registration subsidy fund, and provide opportunities to attend the Festival for free through volunteering. Historically, income from registration fees covers less than a third of Festival costs, so we now registration options to better support the Festival. We estimate the cost of the Festival to be at least $300 per person, and we invite everyone who is able to pay at that level. For those with a greater capacity, please consider giving an additional amount to cover subsidized registrations and the full cost of the Festival. You can also help us keep Split This Rock Poetry Festival financially accessible by recruiting people and organizations in your network to sponsor the Festival, purchase program book ads, and reserve a table at the Book Fair. Contact for more information.

You can also donate directly to Split This Rock to support all programs. Whether you're able to give or not, we thank you mightily for the ways you carry and embody the work of Split This Rock. Donations can be made online at Split This Rock's website.

Q: What if I can't afford to attend?
Consider volunteering. People who volunteer for at least 3 1/2 hours receive free Festival registration and a t-shirt! Learn more on the Festival Volunteer web page.

Registration subsidies are available based on financial need. Submit your request via the online application form by Friday, February 21. If the form is not accessible to you, alternate submission instructions are available on the Festival Subsidy Fund web page. Please note that requests submitted by mail must be postmarked by February 14. Read more about Festival registration subsidies on the Festival Subsidy Fund web page.

Q: Is the Festival accessible to people in the disability community?
A: Split This Rock values individuals with disabilities and strives to make its programs and materials accessible. The Festival’s venues and hotel are all wheelchair accessible. Large print program books will be available at the Festival registration table by request. Featured poet readings will include ASL interpreters. Read more about Festival accessibility on the Accessibility web page. If you have questions or suggestions or would like to request an accommodation, 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 Festival information table at George Washington University's Cloyd Heck Marvin Center.

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

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Q: How do I register?
A: Visit the Festival registration page. Register early! Early-bird rates are available! If the online form is inaccessible to you, visit the Festival's main page for information on other options.

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 by mail. (Please note mailed registration forms must be postmarked by Friday, February 14, 2020.) 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 session that I want to attend?
A: Your Festival pass entitles you to entry at 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 discounted rates for groups of 10 or more.

Q: What if I need a refund?
A: We are able to refund your registration if you notify us within 30 days of making your payment, regardless of whether it is before or after the Festival. Unfortunately we cannot make refunds after that date. Refunds are only available if you do not attend the Festival. If you have questions, email us at or by calling 202-787-5210.

Presenter FAQs

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    General Info
Registering for the Festival | Return to the Top of Page | Go to Bottom of Page

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: $120 if you register during early bird regisration, and $150 after Friday, January 31, 2020. Festival registrations include admission to all events, readings, open mics, and the book fair for the duration of the Festival. Meals, lodging, and travel are not included. For information on lodging, please visit the Festival's Where To Stay web page. A Registration Subsidy Fund is available. Instructions on how to apply are available on the Subsidy Fund web page.

Q: What if I have other questions?

Contact us at or 202-787-5210.