The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which will be entering its 16th year in 2011, will be changing locations to USC’s University Park Campus, according to a statement by the Los Angeles Times.
For its first 15 years, the festival had been hosted at UCLA’s Royce Quad but will now move to its crosstown rival’s campus.
Lawrence Lokman, associate vice chancellor for UCLA communications and public outreach, said he was disappointed about the move but not surprised.
“Before last year’s event, the Los Angeles Times refused to make a long-term commitment to UCLA, so that tipped us off,” Lokman explained.
Lokman said that for years the Los Angeles Times had expressed its desire to increase profits and decrease expenses to a point that UCLA could not accommodate. The university had tried to accommodate the Los Angeles Times’ wishes by relaxing restrictions on sponsors’ food samples.
But offering more free samples decreased revenue since Associated Students UCLA sells concessions at the fair, Lokman said. He also added that for the first time, they had allowed the Los Angeles Times to charge for entry to some of the speaker panels, with all the money going to the Los Angeles Times.
According to the Los Angeles Times’ statement, the move to USC allows for increased attendance because of the campus’s central location, proximity to public transportation, larger amount of parking and new campus facilities.
The Times and the USC campus will work together to expand programming for next year’s festival and to allow sponsors and exhibitors more available space for sampling and concession opportunities, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This April at UCLA, approximately 140,000 spectators and 400 authors attended the event, which is the country’s largest public literary festival. Started in 1996, the festival brings together between 130,000 and 140,000 literature fans every spring.
L.A. residents interested in famous authors, celebrity appearances, local musicians and speaker panels can look forward to the event in its new location downtown.
The event, which is free to the public, includes books, authors and booksellers from all genres including manga, comic books, poetry, mystery and young adult novels. The event also offers many book signings, question-and-answer sessions, authors’ readings and children’s activities.
“It was a great event and I’m sorry to see it go (to a different venue),” said Bob Williams, ASUCLA executive director.