March 6, 2024

One Last Time, With Feeling

Yeah, no kidding! We’re bringing XOXO back this August 22–24 to Revolution Hall in Portland, one last time.

After the last XOXO in 2019, we had decided to start wrapping things up, planning for one final festival in September 2020. Then obviously the pandemic arrived, derailing our plans entirely, and turns out, postponing them for almost four years.

Since 2019, XOXO sat unfinished in our imaginations, while we’ve watched the world continue to become a more challenging place for independent artists and creators. Many in our community are out of work, crushed by widespread layoffs across the media, games, and tech industries. It feels like many technology companies and platforms are doing everything they can to hurt artists instead of supporting them.

More than ever, we need community and solidarity, to hear each other’s stories, to experience and share our work with each other, to come together and organize to make things better.

We’ve always referred to XOXO as an ”experimental festival,” our shorthand for “very open to changing everything.” With that in mind, and with some new challenges facing niche independently-produced events, we’re trying a few new things this year.


Consistently the most significant barrier to entry, the cost of attending XOXO is something we know folks will feel more sharply this year than in the past. The financial situation for independent events like ours has also changed dramatically, and if we were to produce an event like 2019 this year, our ticket price would need to increase several hundred dollars to cover the difference.

So instead, to make the festival more affordable to you, we’re cutting the cost of passes in half. Since 2013, XOXO cost $500 for a full pass, and this year, they’ll cost $250.

To make the festival more affordable for us, we’re producing a smaller version of XOXO, one day shorter than past years with a single day conference, a few less evening events, a few more self-organized meetups, and a tighter schedule. We’ll share more details when we announce the lineup and open registration later this year.


While we’re on the subject, many of the companies that used to sponsor XOXO have also cut their budgets, making it harder for us to run the festival like we used to. In the past, fully one-third of our revenue came from sponsors, many of whom also helped pay for the more ambitious parts of our production over the years.

Candidly, it’s also increasingly difficult to find companies we’re comfortable working with that aren’t rapidly heading down the enshittification spiral.

Patronage is absolutely critical to running XOXO, and we’re leaning heavily on the community this year to help us make up the gap left by corporate sponsors. Several long-time friends of the festival have stepped up to help us as Community Patrons to cover our early costs, and we’ll be reaching out to more of you before August to help pull this off.

We’re also very grateful that our friends at BackerKit have already committed to returning as a patron this year. If you, or your company, wants to join them to help make the last XOXO as amazing as possible, please get in touch.


Obviously the most significant barrier to us safely producing XOXO the last few years has been the COVID pandemic, which is still raging all around us.

Unfortunately, it seems like most events have abandoned even the most basic precautions, going along with the shrug emoji approach many have now settled into.

XOXO 2024 will treat COVID like the ongoing public health crisis it is, and in the absence of reasonable guidelines and policies from government or local authorities, we’re going to create and publish our own.

  • All attendees and staff will be required to wear an N95/KN95 mask (or equivalent) inside the theater at Revolution Hall at all times. Masks will be optional outside.
  • If you’re not comfortable being in the theater, we plan to simulcast all on-stage programming to an open, well-ventilated tent in the park, including an area specifically for distanced, masked viewing.
  • We’re still working with the venue to better understand their ventilation, as well as the logistics and effectiveness of reporting vaccination/booster status and rapid testing.

There’s always going to be some risk in attending any in-person gathering, but we believe it’s possible to produce events that significantly mitigate those risks. We’ll publish a detailed policy before registration opens so you can make an informed decision about attending, and we commit to not weakening those policies before the event.

We also plan to make it open-source, like our inclusive production practices and code of conduct, for those that want to follow our lead.


Over the last 12 years, XOXO has grown into something special, from an annual event to a year-round community of people supporting each other through an extremely dark period of deep uncertainty. It’s been a lifeline for so many, including both of us. XOXO is a weird and wonderful thing, and we’re so happy to finally bring the community back together in person.

More on all that soon. In the meantime, you can follow us on Mastodon, Bluesky, or Threads for updates, and join the announcement list to get an email when registration opens.

Can’t wait to see you all again.


Andy & Andy