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LAist Guide to the Festival of Books

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If you aren't going to Coachella this weekend and somehow think that attending the LA Times Festival of Books requires less planning...well, you may be right. But only by the smallest of margins. The festival keeps growing and this year may be the largest with 400 authors, 300 exhibit booths, 6 outdoor stages and 97 hour-long panels featuring some of the quirkiest minds in the country. What does this mean for you? In the words of Walter Sobchak, you don't want to roll out there naked. You need a plan. A solid plan that will get you where you want to go and will keep you well-hydrated, well-fed and well, happy. Here's a quick guide to surviving the bookish madness:

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Parking: The parking at UCLA isn't nearly as big a problem as, say, the traffic surrounding the campus while people are trying to get there to park. If ever there was a time to take public transportation, this is it. If you must drive, parking lots are located at every corner of the campus and the fee is $8. We're going to bribe a friend for the drop-off and the pick-up to avoid this mess.

Food, Hydration & You: While it won't be Coachella-hot, it won't be cold. Bring all the usual warm-weather gear and plenty of water. That said, the Bridge Food Court will be open and plenty of vendors will be selling their overpriced food, so bring plenty of cash or seek out campus ATMs early. If you'd rather not spend the cash to eat, you may want to loiter around the Cooking Stage where chefs-with-books will be whipping a few things up:

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Tickets: The event is free, but if you plan to see any author panels or discussions, you'll need advance tickets from Ticketmaster that cost .75. BUT: Having a ticket does not guarantee access. If you are not "in your seats" 10 min. before a panel begins, your seat will be given away to those waiting in the stand-by line. For popular panels, this rule is a bitch. Especially because the lines can be very long. Festival monitors tend to be crazy strict about this policy, no matter who you are are. We once saw a running-late author banned from his own panel! The good news: if you missed out on tickets, there are plenty of seats at the lesser-known panels and all the stage and booth events are no-ticket-required!