On April 17, 2024

Bookstock cancels summer event after 14 years 

Courtesy Bookstock
Book lovers seen at a recent Bookstock event selceting from a wide variety of  literature. Bookstock, the  summer literary festival in Woodstock, cancels its annual event after 14 years.

After 14 years of annual literary festivals, Bookstock is closing down. Its festival planned this summer for June 21-23 will not take place.

The festival began in 2009 as a collaboration among six organizations in Woodstock: The North Chapel, Norman Williams Public Library, Yankee Bookshop, the History Center, Pentangle, and the Thompson Senior Center.

Over the years the event has hosted over 400 authors, ranging from nationally known Pulitzer awardees to local emerging authors. The used book sale in a massive tent on the Town Green sold over 70,000 used books. Artistree’s Unbound Exhibit usually kicked the weekend off, followed by some 30 author events and a fun, lively festival on the Green. Each year about 60 volunteers participated in creating and running the festival. All author sessions were free and open to all.

Originally run informally entirely by volunteers, the festival reorganized in late 2021 as a formal non-profit corporation. It received crucial start-up funding in 2022 and 2023 from Woodstock’s Economic Development Commission, with the goal of serving the local community and attracting town visitors and persons considering moving into the area.

Some organizations and individuals envisioned Bookstock as a large event that drew many attendees from the region and out of state. Others preferred an excellent program but more modest in size.

Peter Rousmaniere, a co-founder and board chair, said that he was grateful for the many individuals whose vision and energy made the festival an inspiring experience for upwards of 1,500 attendees each year. Over two dozen local organizations have participated, providing venues and staff, selling books, and more.

Rousmaniere said, “Bookstock originated as a collaboration of organizations and depended on them for help such as providing venues, staff and book selling resources. We asked a lot from them. Over the years, the participating organizations varied, and some have moved on. This development is understandable. But this makes the festival not viable.”

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