Brave New Voices

The 2023 Festival is a three-day in-person celebration taking place in San Francisco Bay Area. Fill out the 2023 Brave New Voices team interest form if you would like to attend the festival.


​​March 31, 2023: Interest Forms due
April 7, 2023: Participating Teams & Organizations Confirmed & Contacted by Youth Speaks
May 16, 2023: Team Registration & Fees due

Safety & Wellness Policy

The organizers of the Brave New Voices (BNV) Festival pledge our ongoing commitment to creating inclusive and accessible spaces that are safe for the minds and bodies of all youth participants and festival attendees.

As we share Festival activities, logistics, and As we share Festival activities, logistics, and other announcements over the next few months, we encourage you and your teams to visit this page frequently for the full Brave New Voices Festival Safety and Wellness policies.


Below are Frequently Asked Questions about this year’s registration deadlines, fees, chaperone requirements, and schedule of events. Please look through this section if you have any questions about the process.

Note: This page will be updated frequently and will be your go-to resource for all Brave New Voices Festival updates, resources, events, and announcements.

When is Brave New Voices?
The Brave New Voices (BNV) Festival will take place this summer from July 20 - July 22, 2023, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Where is Brave New Voices being held?

All Brave New Voices (BNV) events, workshops, and slams will be hosted in beautiful, eccentric, and historic arts & culture venues across San Francisco, California.


Welcome and registration will take place Thursday, July 20, 2023, from 1 PM - 5 PM. All participating teams (competing and non-competing) should plan to arrive in San Francisco for the Festival registration between 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM on July 20th. Room Check-in time when you may access your rooms is 3 pm.


Teams should plan on departing from their accommodations in San Francisco by 11:00 AM on Sunday, July 23, 2023. The Brave New Voices Grand Slam Finals will be held Saturday, July 22, 2023, in San Francisco.

How do I send a team/group to participate?

Step 1: Submit a Brave New Voices 2023 Interest Form on behalf of your organization/team/group by March 31, 2023.

All competing and non-competing teams who wish to participate in the Brave New Voices Festival should submit a Brave New Voices team interest form as an organization. This is required for all new and returning teams that want to participate in Brave New Voices.

Step 2: Receive confirmation and notification of participation at BNV.

Teams/organizations/groups that have submitted a BVN Interest Form will be considered for participation in the Festival. If your organization is not already a part of the BNV Network, the Brave New Voices Planning Committee will contact you with information on how to formally join the BNV Network including details about theFestival by April 2023.

Step 3: Participating teams/organizations/groups complete Brave New Voices (BNV) Team Registration.

How does team registration work?

The festival can accommodate up to 20 teams/organizations/groups to participate in three days of workshops, activities, slams, and special events in San Francisco, CA. Completing an interest form for your organizations and/or group will help determine eligibility and participation at the Brave New Voices Festival.

Registration consists of two parts:

1) Online Enrollment


2) Online Payment


The cost to attend Brave New Voices is $3,000 this year. The Festival fee covers registration for four (4) youth participants and two (2) adult chaperones (including a team coach and/or organizational staff). Registration fees are outlined below and are pro-rated according to the organizational budget of the applicant team. Youth Speaks continues to subsidize a large portion of Festival costs for all attendees. Please see below for more information.

Adult Chaperones Requirements

The Festival requires an adult-to-youth participant ratio of one (1) to four (4). Adult coaches, organizational staff and chaperones must be ages 21+.

  • A team of four (4) youth ages 13-19 must include at least one (1) adult 21 years of age or older.
  • A team of five to six (5-6) youth ages 13-19 MUST include two (2) adult chaperones 21 years of age or older.

Additional Youth and/or Adult-Chaperones

A fee of $500 per person will be included in registration fees for organizations that would like to bring additional youth participants (ages 13-19) and/or adult chaperones/staff to attend the Brave New Voices Festival. Each team/organization/group is required to maintain a ratio of one (1) adult staff member aged 21+ that is responsible for every group of (4) youth participants ages 13-19. Youth participants include anyone aged 19 and under. Adult coaches, organizational staff, and chaperones must be aged 21 or over.

Fees: Non-Competing Teams, Organizations, Groups

Fees for non-competing teams and entourage are $500 per person. Non-competing teams may bring up to five (5) participants. Non-competing teams must abide by the same one (1) to four (4) adult-to-youth ratio policy.

**Payment for BNV is due at the time of registration. Deadline to register is 6PM PT | 7PM MT | 8 PM CT | 9 PM ET Tuesday, May 16, 2023.**

What are the enrollment requirements?

Once we receive your application and confirm your participation, each team is required to fill out enrollment forms for each team member who will attend Brave New Voices. Below is the information you are expected to have when filling out the enrollment forms for each youth and adult member of your team:

  • Personal/Individual Information including basic demographic information, contact information, social media, and a photo for identification.
  • Team Information including names of coach/chaperone, including demographic information.
  • Medical Information including emergency contact information, general medical history, allergies/dietary needs (if applicable for live interaction), and health insurance information (optional) and disability access information.
  • Forms to be signed: Permission form (for participants under age 18), Media Release form, BNV Standards and Behavior form, and Background check (any participant over 18 including chaperones and coaches). Please note that the Coaches Code of Conduct will be handed out at the mandatory Coaches Webinar, happening on a date TBD.
  • COVID-19 Waiver includes the release of liability, and understanding of COVID-19 regulations for participants and adult mentors.
  • Mandated Reporter Training For all Chaperones and Coaches. Information for free California state training will be shared with participating teams but can also be found here.
  • Also, all accepted team coaches and chaperones will be required to participate in a brief training required by Brave New Voices for orientation on Slams, Festival Participation, and Mental Health and Safety.

**You will not be allowed to attend the festival if these forms are not filled out. The forms are necessary for the general safety of participants during the festival.**

What costs will my team/group be required to cover?

Registration fees will cover:

  • All-access festival pass to attend workshops, town halls, late night events, slams and special public events during Brave New Voices
  • Housing & accommodations for four (4) youth and up to two (2) adult chaperones for the length of the Festival (3 nights / 3 days)
  • Six (6) meals for four (4) youth and up to two (2) adult chaperones for the length of the Festival.

Youth Speaks will cover the following meals for Brave New Voices participants:

Thursday, July 20

  • Welcome Dinner

Friday, July 21

  • Team Breakfast
  • Team Lunch

Saturday, July 22

  • Team Breakfast
  • Team Lunch

Sunday, July 23

  • Grab & Go Breakfast

All-access festival pass to attend workshops, town halls, late night events, slams and special public events during Brave New Voices

Teams are responsible for covering the following meals:

  • July 20 travel meals (dinner provided)
  • July 21 dinner for team (breakfast and lunch provided)
  • July 22 travel meals for team (breakfast and lunch provided)
  • July 23 travel meals (grab & go breakfast provided)

*All snacks and incidentals

I don’t have health insurance. Do I need to fill out that form?
Filling out the health insurance form is not mandatory, though please note that Youth Speaks is not responsible for any hospital fees you may incur. When filling out your forms, you may leave this section blank if you do not have insurance.
Do I have to get a background check/fingerprinting?

Yes, for participants 18 and over a background check is required. Our festival defines youth as being between the ages of 13-19. If you are age 18 and up, you are required to have a background check as you are considered an adult according to state and federal policy.

Youth Speaks is not responsible for maintaining these records beyond the Festival. Teams, organizations, groups and individuals are responsible for keeping a copy for their own records.

Where do we get a background check?

The process will be different for each state. The general guidance is to find either an independent contractor for the background check process or seeing if your state/Attorney General has a way to get background checks done. We recommend searching online for a background check, fingerprinting, Live Scan services, etc near you for the most accurate local information. See below for background check resources.

Will it cost to get a background check for our chaperones? More than likely, you will need to pay to get this done. Organizations, teams and groups may have local offices that can assist with this as well. In addition, school-approved letters work as well. (The executive director, chief executive officer/president or Board of Directors’ chair(s) of an organization or group can send a letter on a current letter-head clearing chaperones or coaches as long as that person works for the organization and has been cleared already to work with youth through a fingerprinting/ background check process within that organization and state.

Do parents need background checks, if they are chaperones? Anyone else outside of your organizations or any who is not an adult staff/employee will need individual background checks submitted. Here are resources to help your team get a background check:

Will Brave New Voices be live-streamed?
Yes. Select programs and Festival events will be live-streamed on Youth Speaks’ YouTube channel for our national and international audiences and friends.
My group is planning to attending. Are there lead-up events/meetings I should know about?

Yes. Teams will participate in mandatory online wellness and safety trainings and Brave New Voices (BNV) National Networking events in the months leading up to July 20. Specific dates and times will be determined and shared once all teams have completed the BNV 2023 Team Interest Form. The deadline to submit your organization’s Interest Form is March 31, 2023.

If you do not see your question answered here or if you have a question more specific to your team regarding registration, please email our Brave New Voice Committee at Please be aware that this page will be updated frequently.

If you do not see your question answered here or if you have a question more specific to your team regarding registration, please email our Brave New Voice Committee at Please be aware that this page will be updated frequently.