Forward Festival: 2021 Forward Festival to Showcase Expanded Events and Partners


Molly Walsh


[email protected]

(MADISON, Wis.)—Creators, entrepreneurs, investors, students and tech-folks will experience Forward Festival’s expanded breadth of events, partners and locations during the 12th annual event. Forward Festival will take place Aug. 12-19 and will feature an all-time high 60+ events, with virtual and in-person events, organizers announced today.

“This past year has demonstrated the need to make opportunities accessible for everyone,” Hilary Stohs-Krause, festival board member and co-owner of Ten Forward Consulting, said. “With Forward Festival offering in-person and virtual events this year, both options provide an experience that’s just as robust in terms of learning, professional growth and networking.”

The festival has expanded its footprint, with events coinciding with Jazz at Five and The Main Street Bazaar as examples. It also will be spread out throughout Greater Madison, with events downtown, in Fitchburg, on the far west side of Madison, in Waunakee and other locations. Many events are free; however, there are a couple that require a paid ticket or accept donations (e.g. Pressure Chamber, Wellness Tips for a Busy Entrepreneur and 5x5x5, among others).

The festival still features some of its annual events such as the Badger Startup Summit on Aug. 12 and the Forward Tech Conference on Aug. 17/Aug. 19, though both are virtual. New event themes this year include the intersection of comedy and branding, youth cybersecurity and the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Similar to last year, all Forward Pass holders can use the Forward Festival app, which gives attendees the opportunity to build a schedule of events to attend, connect with event organizers and sponsors directly and network with the community of entrepreneurs and creatives. The app will be available the beginning of August.

Forward Festival is sponsored by Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, M3 Insurance, MG&E, Neider & Boucher, Swink, Urban Land Interests, WEDC, WIPFLI and the Wisconsin Union. Public relations support provided by Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media.

For a detailed listing of events taking place during the Forward Festival, please visit