Crosscut Festival

May 3-8, 2021

About the Crosscut Festival

Journalists, politicians, authors, creators and newsmakers from our community and around the nation come together to take a hard look at the people, policy and events that shape our lives. 

100+ Speakers
40+ Sessions
2000 Attendees
Endless Ideas

Previous Speakers

Headliner's Gala

The Crosscut Festival kicks off with the Headliners Gala! The Gala brings our community together to celebrate and support great public media and journalism in the Pacific Northwest. Providing funding for KCTS 9 and Crosscut, this special event honors newsmakers who take us beyond the headlines.

The Experience

In 2021, Crosscut Festival will return in a hybrid format, including virtual sessions and events, plus socially-distanced arts experiences throughout Seattle. This special year of the festival will be available at no-cost. 

A virtual Headliners Gala will kick-off the festival to celebrate and support great public media and journalism in the Pacific Northwest. A fundraiser for KCTS 9 and Crosscut, this event honors newsmakers who take us beyond the headlines and the creativity of our community.

Festival programming will include a week of virtual conversations available online and select sessions will be broadcast on KCTS. Speakers from across the nation and around the region will join us to consider issues in politics, social justice, the economy, science, the environment, and the arts. Art exhibits, performances and interactive installations will take place around the city, bringing to life and supporting Seattle’s creative community.


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Virtual Sessions + KCTS 9

Festival sessions will be available for live & on-demand viewing throughout the week and select sessions will be broadcast each evening on KCTS 9

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Arts + Experiences

A creative journey around Seattle featuring interactive, socially distant arts and culture experiences

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VIP Experience

Exclusive perks like chef meals, mixology classes, gift totes, books, exclusive programming and more

More Features

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Virtual lunch workshops
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Online book sales
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Students-only sessions
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City-wide arts installations
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Closed captioning available for all sessions
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Sessions released on the podcast after event

What is Crosscut?

Founded in 2007, Crosscut was a pioneer in the national landscape of local, online-only news outlets. Working out of coffee shops and hole-in-the-wall offices, its small team of writers broke fresh ground on topics such as transportation, homelessness and the reshaping of the urban landscape.

In 2015, Crosscut merged with KCTS 9 public television under the umbrella of a single nonprofit called Cascade Public Media. Today, our combined staff of reporters, video producers and web developers fills an essential role in the Northwest’s news ecosystem, focusing on politics and public policy, race and equity, arts and culture and the environment. We tell stories and provide context and analysis that helps people understand our fast-changing region and how they can be a part of shaping it for the better.


Crosscut Talks Podcast

Browse the complete Crosscut Talks archives

Crosscut Talks podcasts feature recordings from every session at the 2019 Festival. They are available to listen and download everywhere you get to your favorite podcasts. 


Exclusive Interviews on Crosscut Now

Watch more episodes of Crosscut Now

This limited series airs on PBS and features one-on-one studio conversations with headlining speakers at Crosscut Festival.

Crosscut Now Studio Sessions: Janet Napolitano

While leading the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano created the legal framework for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and invested heavily in border and airport security technology. In 2013, she left DHS to become the president of the University of California. She is the author of “How Safe Are We?,” a critique of American security measures in the age of cyberwarfare.

Crosscut Festival in the News

Read more articles on

Crosscut’s news coverage of Festival topics and panelists will take you behind the scenes and give you deeper insights into the issues that matter to you.



Sign up to be a part of Cascade Public Media’s volunteer program to find out more.


Volunteer at the festival


The 2021 Crosscut Festival will include online virtual sessions and events, plus socially-distanced arts experiences throughout Seattle. Stay tuned for more details!


Crosscut Festival would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors and partners. See the full list of sponsors and find out about opportunities to support the festival on our sponsor page.


Thank you!