The Buffalo Reading Invasion is akin to the city’s uber-popular Porchfest, but instead of watching live bands on porches, it’s all about gathering together to read books in public settings. You might say that it’s the quiet and more intimate version of Porchfest.
Obviously, the Reading Invasion and Porchfest are much different, but they set out to accomplish similar goals. Each of these coveted events intends to promote neighborhoods and culture. In the case of the Reading Invasion, orchestrator Geoff Schutte first hatched the idea back in 2012, when the inaugural “flash mob” or “pop-up” was held at Bidwell Parkway. That fledgling event proved to be so popular that the monthly series has continued to this day (sans 2020, due to the pandemic).
The Buffalo Reading Invasion was (and still is) a revolutionary idea that was well ahead of its time. Schutte created the event series as a way to get people outdoors, away from their TVs and computer screens. He felt that it was a great way to promote books, and reading, by demonstrating that there were plenty of bibliophiles out there that would jump at the chance to participate in group reading sessions.
And now, with the onset of the pandemic, Schutte’s outdoor, socially-distanced, pop-up reading series couldn’t be any more any more imperative and timely. While it was unfortunate that participants had to take a year off (catching up on some good books at home), the message is clearer than ever – along with a public display of reflection, the Reading Invasion signals that life is getting back to a sense of normalcy, albeit in a brave new world.
“Much of this will feel like it has always felt: we will gather in our beautiful parkway, with books and blankets, chairs and Kindles, snacks and drinks and friends. We hope everyone will honor the time we are living in, keeping ourselves safely spaced and properly protected. As for the rest? It’s as simple as plopping down with a good book and sharing the experiences of reading together.” – Geoff Schutte
Kick off event for the 2021 Buffalo Reading Invasion
Monday June 28, 2021
7pm – 8pm
Bidwell Parkway (at Elmwood)