AIF Blog

Public Tickets Sneak Peek

Jun 16, 2015

If you’re in Aspen in late June or early July, there will be no question that the Aspen Ideas Festival is taking place. From the banner-bedecked lampposts in the downtown core, to the AIF tote bags on every other passerby’s shoulder, Aspen Ideas has become ingrained in Aspen’s summer culture.

Now at this point, the Festival has been sold-out for months, but there are still plenty of ways to get involved. For locals and tourists alike, the various public events of the Festival offer access to many of the world’s greatest thinkers, artists, journalists, political leaders, and up-and-comers.

On a typical day, breakfast and lunch discussions offered at the Limelight Hotel, Acquolina, the Hotel Jerome, and other locales. Evenings offer films (see the lineup and watch trailers) in Paepcke Auditorium and special sessions at Belly Up Aspen and Hotel Jerome. As a rule of thumb, events that take place in town — as opposed to on the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Meadows Campus — are open to the public. Tickets range in price from FREE to $55 for lunch sessions and $100 for the Afternoon of Conversation. Tickets go on sale at 9 AM, Friday, June 19. They sell out quickly during the pre-sale facilitated by the Wheeler Opera House, but oftentimes space is available for those who want to buy a ticket at the door. Dropping by and hoping to purchase a ticket in person is particularly effective at the early morning breakfast sessions.

Here are a few highlights from this year’s lineup (All scheduling and speakers are subject to change):

“Marketplace Live” - Host Kai Ryssdal will be joined by Tim Brown, Robin Chase, Chris Davenport, Jose Ferreira, Ted Sarandos

“Science Friday” -  Host Ira Flatow will be joined by Jo Boaler, Jordan Ellenberg, Steven Strogatz

Big Night: The Moth at Aspen Ideas Festival - Hosted by Ophira Eisenberg, Mainstage storytellers Maurice Ashley and Jessica Lee Williamson will be joined by Rebecca Eaton, Jon Lovett, and Dalia Mogahead

Comedy Night - Back by popular demand, a number of Festival speakers, who are not trained comedians, will try their luck at the mic. This year includes David Brooks, Katie Couric, Pete Dominick, Jon Lovett, Grover Norquist, and others.

You Can Learn Anything - Hands-on, interactive, small-group sessions designed to introduce attendees to new ideas and skills.

The Eye - Explore galaxies, oceans, and natural wonders in The Eye, a geodesic dome that will become an immersive cinema and venue for live talks and demonstrations during the Festival. Look for FREE showings.

Book Talks - As always, a number of Festival speakers including Robin Chase (Peer’s Inc.) Paul Offit (Bad Faith) Anne-Marie Slaughter (Unfinished Business), Laurence Steinberg (Age of Opportunity), Leana Wen (When Doctors Don’t Listen), Andrew Keen (The Internet is Not the Answer) and more will be giving book talks around town.

And dozens more sessions, like these, spanning the Festival tracks:

What Can We Do to Keep Our Kids Safe?
Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices From the Internet Underground
Women Who Lead
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
How I Became Putin’s No. 1 Enemy

For those not willing to wait in line for a ticket at the door, or without the budget to purchase a ticket period, there’s still a chance to take part. The two sessions of the Ideas Festival come together midway though for the Afternoon of Conversation at the Benedict Music Tent. As the Festival’s signature event, the Afternoon of Conversation’s line-up will not disappoint. And thanks to the Benedict Music Tent’s brilliant acoustics, it’s possible to listen to the luminaries from the lawn outside—gratis. The true pros will be there early with blankets to stake out spots, and even some sustenance to enjoy as they sit back, relax and listen to some very big ideas.

Tickets for all public events go on sale June 19 at, or in person at the Wheeler Box Office (320 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen.)

By Beth Slater, guest blogger