Late last night we finally posted — with a level of pride and enthusiasm unmatched in previous years, which is saying something — the 2016 Texas Tribune Festival program (minus the opening and closing sessions, which will be announced with even greater fanfare in a couple of weeks). I hope you’ll agree we've put together the best three days of panel discussions and one-on-one conversations since our first gathering of big names and big brains back in 2011.
This year’s fest features ten tracks of content, including two keynote tracks, and more than 250 speakers in 60-plus hourlong slots. The track headers are familiar — health and human services, transportation and the economy, energy and the environment, and the like — but the particular twists and spins we’ve put on the sessions are very much of the moment. The Texas response to Zika. Grading the STAAR Test. Paying for Higher Ed. Rideshare’s Road Forward. Race and Law Enforcement.
We’ve also corralled some of the most distinguished and celebrated individuals out there for extended sit-downs: Ted Cruz. Gary Johnson. Annise Parker. Boone Pickens. Vicente Fox. The governors of Colorado and Arkansas. The former governors of Pennsylvania and New Mexico. And we’ve enlisted our favorite big-brand journalists to spice things up even further, both as moderators and participants. The editors of The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, The New York Times Sunday Magazine and The Dallas Morning News. Best-selling authors. Pulitzer Prize-winners from The New Yorker and The New York Times.
Did I mention that we have Lance Armstrong talking about cancer, Sanya Richards-Ross talking about the state of college sports and Phil Collins (yes!) talking about the Alamo?
The Tribune Festival is, in many ways, the best possible extension of the Trib’s public service mission. We want to better educate our friends and neighbors about the issues that matter to all of them and all of us, and we want to better acquaint elected officials and policymakers with the priorities of the people they answer to. A convening of this sort won’t solve the enormous civic disengagement problem that Texas faces, but it’s a start. And through livestreaming and video and audio made available after the fact, we hope to reach even more people than the 4,000 or so we’re expecting on the campus of the Unviersity of Texas at Austin, our gracious host, over the weekend of Sept. 23-25.
That's less than six weeks from now! Get your tickets today through the festival website — or do it soon, before the price goes up (and it will, a couple of times). Can’t wait to see you there.