For Texas news nerds and political junkies, today is the absolute best day of any odd- or even-numbered year — better than the gaveling in of a legislative session and certainly better than boring old Election Day. Finally, the program for the Texas Tribune Festival is live. There's nothing ceremonial or predictable about the public unveiling of what we have planned for you in 2017, but there's plenty of genuine excitement and eager anticipation. And why wouldn't there be? From start to finish, it's the absolute best fest yet.
Our seventh annual ideas weekend — running Sept. 22-24, as ever on the University of Texas at Austin campus — features more than 60 hour-long sessions over three days and across 10 tracks, and more than 250 speakers from around the state and country — some of the biggest names you know and many you don't talking about the issues of the moment. Ted Cruz. John Cornyn. Steny Hoyer. Cecile Richards. Wendy Davis. Joe Straus. Chris Hayes. Dan Rather. Katy Tur. Ben Domenech. Larry Wilmore. Steve Schmidt. Donna Brazile. George P. Bush. Evan McMullin. From national and state politics to top-shelf media, the lineup is filled to the brim and beyond with star power and smarts.
Expect the many conversations and one-on-ones to touch on the usual array of subjects, from public and higher ed to health care, diversity and the law to transportation and the state economy. But also look for the many new things we've dreamed up. An entire slate of podcasts recorded before a live audience. A series of discussions about municipal governance — the narrative thread that ran through the 85th Legislature's regular session and into the first called special. An entire track about year one of the Trump administration. Another about the evolving relationship between politics and the press. Yet another about the 2018 election cycle, in and out of Texas.
It's going to be amazing. Even the non-nerds and non-junkies among you won't want to miss it. Check out the full schedule here, and buy your tickets today.