A week later, we've emerged from our post-Texas Tribune Festival coma — mostly — and so we can report that this year's three-day gathering of the biggest brains and biggest names in politics and public policy was by far our most successful. In year three, "Woodstock for wonks" drew a smidge under 2,500 registrants (50 percent more than last year) and generated nearly $135,000 in ticket sales (60 percent more) and nearly $590,000 (50 percent) from 58 corporate sponsors (35 percent), not counting in-kind contributions.
Yep, you did that math right: It was a $720,000-plus gross revenue weekend. That's how you get to $1.2 million in annual revenue from events.
Beyond the money, we can report with equal enthusiasm, if not 100 percent objectivity, that the content of the festival was the best ever. From virtual Ted Cruz to actual Wendy Davis, from the three GOP candidates for attorney general to three of the four hopefuls for lieutenant governor (Dan Patrick called in sick at the last minute), from the speaker of the Texas House to the first lady of Texas, from Lege committee chairs to the agency heads and other assorted experts, our participants were all insightful, provocative and marquee-worthy. We're grateful for their time and have put them on notice: We want them back next year.
We want you back next year, too. We're already thinking hard about venues large enough that we don't have to turn people away from keynotes and panels — as problems go, a good one to have — and we're brainstorming programming ideas that will top this year's.
For now, from all of us at the Trib, thanks for making the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival such a great and memorable experience.