To quote future Heisman Trophy winner Sam Ehlinger: “We're baaaaaaaaack.” Or maybe it was the girl from Poltergeist.
In any case, it’s that time of year again: Texas Tribune Festival time, more precisely #tribfest ticket time. Registration opened today for the 2019 fest — what we know and you’ll see is going to be our best ideas weekend yet. There will be more and bigger names; more imaginative sessions (including one-on-ones, panel discussions and live podcast recordings, plus meet-and-greets with pols, media personalities, authors — basically your Twitter feed come to life); and opportunities to eat, drink, network and find common ground with likeminded and un-likeminded citizens of this state, this country and this planet.
The dates are Sept. 26-28. Unofficial kickoff on the 25th — as always, the night before — at Franklin BBQ. (Special guest: Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight.) For the second straight year, after seven great ones on the University of Texas campus, our venue is downtown Austin. We’ll be in a dozen iconic event spaces, churches and lecture halls just south of the Capitol complex Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27-28. Our Open Congress festival — robust free programing under tents on several barricaded-off blocks — returns Saturday. Our opening and closing sessions this year — the nights of Thursday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 28 — will be at the historic Paramount Theater. Our gala fundraising dinner Friday is back at Brazos Hall, featuring yours truly in conversation with best-selling author and presidential historian Michael Beschloss.
As always, we have a few surprises planned. (The return of Alex Jones and his bullhorn is not one of them.) We're going to make you wait until Aug. 1 to see the full program, but you can expect around 100 hourlong sessions and 350 speakers.
The topics we’ll cover across the program are familiar but potent: public and higher ed, health care, immigration and homeland security, courts and the law, transportation, energy and natural resources, the economy, politics and the press, the future of rural Texas, the future of urban Texas, sports and policy, technology and privacy, what the 86th Legislature did for us and to us, and what to expect in 2020 — in the presidential race and up and down the ballot. Everything you need to prep you for another year of thoughtful and productive citizenship.
If you want to be at #tribfest19, we want you there — and we have a price point for you. From now until Memorial Day, Texas Tribune members pay $150, while nonmembers pay $200. (Seriously, just become a member. The perks you get at the festival alone are worth it.) After Memorial Day, those prices go up to $200 and $250, respectively. As always, students pay just $50 and educators just $75. We also offer group discounts for school groups, government entities and nonprofits.
There's no more important time for serious conversation about the priorities of our communities than right this second — we all need to be focused, intensely and intently, on the future. If Texas is the community you care about, there's no more important event than #tribfest19. See you there.