YALLFest Doesn’t Have an Age

The Charleston Takeover

Photo courtesy of Sammy Jones

This past weekend in Charleston left the streets buzzing with thousands of people across the country coming in for different events. The Farmers Market, Garden & Gun Made in the South Weekend, Charleston Burger Week and Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival were all vying for the tourists attention, but one called to the children inside all of us: YallFest. YallFest took place on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 and 10.  The event took place in locations all across Downtown Charleston to give visitors a true feel of the Holy City. Festival guests have the pleasure of visiting Charleston Music Hall, American Theatre, Charleston Museum, Best Friend Train Museum, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Kudu Coffee, Record Stop and the host of it all – Blue Bicycle Books.

The peninsula was swarming with eager Young Adult Literature fans as early as sunrise, with some of those waiting in line bragging about being there since 6 a.m. to be first in line. Lines seemed to be the main attraction at the festival, but no one was complaining. Each line that was waited in resulted in a free piece of swag. Even as I was covering the event, I still managed to snag two tote bags, a poster and four ARC books that will be released next year. Charleston was overtaken by books for a day and it was amazing.

Author Panels Galore

The events on Friday were relatively smaller than the main festival on Saturday. The festivities on Friday lasted from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and included a lot of signings by Young Adult authors. After, there was a special Red Carpet Event that officially kicked off YALLFest and a food truck competition where famous Disney authors worked with fans and Chef Shuai Wang from the award-winning food truck Short Grain to close out the day.

The opening keynote was hosted by Jenny Han and Morgan Matson in the Charleston Music Hall, but the first voices we heard were their introducers – Veronica Roth and Brendan Reichs. Brendan Reichs adopted a hilariously deep voice when he introduced the title of their opening keynote, “Late Night This Morning with Jenny and Morgan. It was hosted like a night talk show and set the perfect tone for what the literary festival would be: funny, awkward and definitely full of book nerds. They each interviewed each other and talked more about their books and fans got to see behind-the-scenes footage of Jenny Han seeing the bedroom set of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before for the first time.

As the panel was reaching the end of its time, people began to leave the music hall in troves, ready for the next of the many events. There were multiple panels happening each hour and people were frantically rushing to try and see as many of their favorite authors talk about their works and writing techniques as possible. Some of the panels featured were “Palaces from Paragraphs: Worldbuilding Done Right”, “For Art’s Sake: Writing Art and Music in Novels” and “Hits You in the Feels: Writing Emotion.”

YALLFest ended with a YA Smackdown in Charleston Music Hall hosted by Soman Chainani and Brendan Reichs. Book fans definitely had a great closing night as they say their favorite authors lip syncing, playing games and enjoying themselves together.


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Morgan Galvez is an avid thrift shopper and staff writer for CisternYard news. She is a senior majoring in english with a minor in history. When not at The College, Morgan calls North Myrtle Beach home.

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