Just got home from a postgame analysis meeting of the Walker Percy Weekend organizing committee. The headline out of the meeting is: the dates for the Walker Percy Weekend 2015 are June 5-6 (Friday and Saturday). I tell you this so you can get your hotel reservations booked early. Some other highlights to let you know what you might expect next year:
- We are going to sell more tickets. The popularity of the event told us that people are willing to come, and come from far away. However, we don’t want this festival to become too big, because we loved hearing from folks how convivial and intimate things were. People were able to get to know each other, and it made for a lovely overall feeling. We’re not sure what the limit will be on tickets, but rest assured that a) there will be more tickets, and b) there won’t be a huge number of extra tickets.
- It will, as I said, be the first weekend in June. There was a feeling that we should try to do it in May, before it gets so hot — and it was unusually hot last weekend, even for June — but we decided against it because so many people are busy with school ending and graduation in May.
- We are going to do programming differently. We won’t change the feature in which the panels are geared towards a general audience. This is an ideas festival, but it is not an academic event, and never will be. But we expect to have more, and shorter, panels, and will mix it up between panels and lectures. We will record all the talks, and aim to make them available online after the festival.
- We will add a downtown venue so we can have another space for lecture/panel activity on that Saturday. We anticipate making that space open for music, theater, and film related to Walker Percy.
- This will always be the WPW, but we will vary our talks and panels to include sessions on modern Southern arts and letters (by “modern,” we mean 20th and 21st century). For example, we may do a panel on Robert Penn Warren, or the Southern Agrarians, or Flannery O’Connor, or Eudora Welty. Things like that.
- We will make fans for festivalgoers.
- We are going to move heaven and earth to get Hot Tails involved again in the festival. The food was terrific, and everybody seemed to love it.
We talked about a lot more, including a pretty fantastic idea for the gala, but I’m going to have to keep all that under wraps until we find out what’s possible. Please share your suggestions in the comments thread below. We will consider everything … but not until the fall, because it’s too hot to think right now.
UPDATE: We just got word that West Feliciana Parish President Kevin Couhig, who runs a top-flight stereo and sound equipment manufacturing company, has offered to digitally record all the panel discussions and lectures in 2015 — and livestream them on the Internet! Wherever you are in this world, you’ll be able to participate in Walker Percy Weekend 2015, over the web.