Announcing The Atlantic Festival—Previously Washington Ideas—Renamed and Expanded in its 10th Year

Annual marquee event will take place the week of October 1 in Washington, D.C.’s Penn Quarter neighborhood.

A decade after the Washington Ideas Forum was first held in the nation’s capital, the multi-day marquee event is being reintroduced this fall as The Atlantic Festival. Taking place the first week of October, The Atlantic Festival will animate downtown D.C. with newsmaker interviews and conversations, film screenings, topical forums, book talks, and social events.

The new name and expanded programming reflects the breadth and depth of The Atlantic’s 161 years of iconic journalism, its illumination of the American idea, and its celebration of American culture and democracy, while affording more opportunities for D.C. residents and visitors to experience its offerings first-hand.

The Atlantic Festival will again create a campus throughout Washington’s Penn Quarter, anchored by the Ideas Stage at Sidney Harman Hall and a take-over of neighboring restaurant Rosa Mexicano. For the first time, The Atlantic Festival will have an outdoor presence—with an expansive tent on F Street between 7th and 8th Streets NW that will serve as the site of events focusing on technology and policy, interactive displays, and experiences. The tent is underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton. Ancillary events will happen at several additional Penn Quarter locales.

“In the nine years since we launched our signature Washington event, The Atlantic has grown and changed a lot. We’re now a multi-platform publisher, delivering sophisticated journalism in the magazine, on the web, on stage, in video, in audio—and most any other way our audience wants to consume high-quality reporting and storytelling,” said Bob Cohn, president of The Atlantic. “Our plans for this year’s Atlantic Festival signal the scope of our reinvention and of our limitless ambitions.”

“This will be a magnificent experience for speakers and festival goers alike. Our new name captures the expanded ambition of this fall ritual. The Atlantic Festival is really the 3D expression of The Atlantic’s journalism—a big tent, where we grapple with the most consequential issues of our time,” said AtlanticLIVE’s President Margaret Low. “And festival goers will now get to experience the heart of this city in a new way. What happens off the stage, as we spill out into the neighborhood, will be as exciting as what happens on the stage.”

Early-bird tickets are available now. General admission tickets can be purchased for $200; Atlantic Festival Patron passes are available for $450. Detailed information on ticketing is available HERE. Members of the media should inquire directly with the contacts below for registration information.

Created in 2009 by The Atlantic in partnership with the Aspen Institute, the event has grown from a one-and-a-half day, single-stage experience, to a weeklong slate of more than thirty distinct events, featuring over 100 speakers and an audience of 2500. The Atlantic Festival will increase its editorial scope in 2018, convening the national voices and topics—from the urgent to the entertaining—that are defining all aspects of American society. Past speakers have included heads of state and civic leaders, corporate icons, authors, entrepreneurs, artists, and cultural luminaries.

Detailed announcements about speakers and event information will be made in the coming weeks.

Booz Allen Hamilton is an Innovation Level Underwriter of The Atlantic Festival. Inova, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Caterpillar Foundation, and Pfizer are Presenting Level Underwriters. Aflac and Allstate are Supporting Underwriters; and ExxonMobil, IBM, and US Bank are Contributing Underwriters.


About The Atlantic:
Founded in 1857 and today one of the fastest growing media platforms in the industry, The Atlantic has throughout its history championed the power of big ideas and continues to shape global debate across print, digital, events, video, and audio platforms. With its award-winning digital presence and on cities around the world, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most critical issues of our times—from politics, global, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. Bob Cohn is president of The Atlantic and Jeffrey Goldberg is editor in chief. Emerson Collective is majority owner; Atlantic Media is the minority operating owner of The Atlantic.

About the Aspen Institute:
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:
Anna Bross, The Atlantic

Jon Purves, Aspen Institute