Aspen Ideas will stay online in 2021, not ruling out in-person sessions |

Aspen Ideas will stay online in 2021, not ruling out in-person sessions

Staff report

The Aspen Ideas Festival in June will be a virtual gathering like it was in 2020, with the possibility of any in-person sessions hinging on the state of public health.

The lineup of speakers will be unveiled in 2021, but next year’s theme already has been determined. “American Futures” will examine issues ranging from “democracy to science, the USA’s role on the world stage, and inequality,” said an announcement Tuesday from the Aspen Institute, which organizes Aspen Ideas.

Aspen Ideas is scheduled to run online from June 27 to 30. Organizers said they will know by the end of February if any in-person events can be held on the Aspen Institute campus located in the West End neighborhood. That will depend on “on progress on the vaccine rollout and public health guidelines,” said the announcement.

Kitty Boone, executive director of Ideas Fest, struck an upbeat tone about the event’s potential to be held in person.

“Aspen Ideas in 2021 will be about recovery and renewal, as we look to build a world better than the one that existed before this devastating pandemic,” Boone said in a statement. “We were able to bring the festival to more people than ever before in 2020 through digital programming, and we are so excited to put the experience we’ve gained towards a new year-round series of interactive virtual events. We are also leaving the door open for a physical festival later in the year, should we be able to do so safely. However you attend, we hope you’ll join us!”

Previous Aspen Ideas Festivals have attracted the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton, John McCain, the Dalai Lama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bill Gates and Paul Ryan, among other leaders in business, industry, science, the arts and more.

Aspen Ideas also is one of town’s hallmark summer events alongside the June Experience put on by Jazz Aspen Snowmass, the Food & Wine Classic and the Aspen Music Festival. Due to the pandemic, most all of last summer’s events were all moved online in some capacity.

Food & Wine announced last week it has rescheduled the event from June to Sept. 10 to 12.

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