Save the Date: Sept. 27–29, 2018!

Now in its eighth year, The Texas Tribune Festival is the signature ideas weekend produced by The Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan newsroom covering Texas politics and public policy. The event attracts thousands of decision-makers, industry leaders and community activists from across Texas and beyond to learn about the state’s — and the nation’s — biggest challenges and to engage in thoughtful, civil discussion about their respective solutions.

Save the date and book your travel now, and sign up for our Festival newsletter for updates on registration, volunteer opportunities, talent announcements and more news about #TribFest18.


Big Changes in 2018

While this year's event will boast the same great panel discussions, renowned speakers and even more networking opportunities, #TribFest18 will move from its campus home to downtown Austin. The new footprint in the shadow of the state Capitol will allow for two full days of exciting panels, expanded opening and closing keynote events and more free, open-to-the-public programming. The program will include a return of the ever-popular Franklin Barbecue kick-off, along with TribFeast, a dinner to support nonprofit journalism, Trivia Night with a special guest host and an added Movie Night at the historic Stateside Theatre.

The 2017 Festival shattered previous records, attracting nearly 113,000 combined in-person attendees and livestream viewers throughout the weekend. High-profile speakers from the event included U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Cecile Richards, outgoing president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Beto O’Rourke, Texas congressman and candidate for U.S. Senate; former U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.; Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush; Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath; Susan Rice, former national security advisor to President Barack Obama; the mayors of Austin, Dallas, El Paso, San Antonio and Fort Worth; civil rights activist and organizer DeRay Mckesson; the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman; NPR’s Mara Liasson; MSNBC’s Katy Tur; Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo; U.S. Reps. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, and Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio; State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston; and Larry Wilmore, comedian and host of the “Black on the Air” Podcast.

Tickets will go on sale May 7, and the full program will be posted Aug. 1.

Looking back at #TribFest17

From breaking news on the upcoming 2018 election cycle to discussing the impact of Hurricane Harvey, the seventh-annual Texas Tribune Festival was one for the books. Revisit the weekend by glimpsing through our live blog, archived footage from various panels and the best moments from our first podcast track.


Did you miss any of this year’s panels? You can watch several of them here, including our opening keynote with U.S. Sen. Al Franken and our closing conversation with U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.

Community Forum on Race & Justice

MSNBC host Chris Hayes and Slate’s chief political correspondent, Jamelle Bouie, talked about institutional racism, criminal justice and more with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith.

One on One with Al Franken

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, kicked off the festival on Friday with Smith, discussing whether bipartisanship can fit in Washington and the GOP’s latest health care overhaul effort.   

Trump and the Presidency

The panel discussed President Donald Trump’s unpredictable temperament — and how it could be running up against the checks and balances of the federal government. One panelist, Rice University professor Douglas Brinkley, said the president’s protectionist ideology is nothing new.

One on One with Steny Hoyer

U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat and U.S. House minority whip, told The New York Times Magazine’s Robert Draper that his party is “a broad tent” one — and expressed frustration that his counterparts in the lower chamber haven’t showed a willingness to work in a bipartisan manner.

Trump and National Security

North Korea, cybersecurity and China were the main pillars of discussion on this panel. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said Trump “needs to take the fight off Twitter,” and U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, said the U.S. is not practicing “good digital hygiene.”  

Trump and Congress

Texas congressmen weighed in on Congress handling Harvey recovery aid — and how entire congressional delegation has more or less unified on the issue. The congressmen also discussed the aftermath of a shooting this year in Virginia at a GOP baseball practice.  

One on One with Susan Rice

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice told the Boston Globe’s Indira Lakshmanan that it would be “the height of folly — and incredibly self-destructive” if the U.S. pulled out of the 2015 Iran Deal.

Trump and the Resistance

What are the limits to resistance — and what happens when that pushback turns to violence? Political activist DeRay Mckesson, one of several on the panel, said, “Protest is not the answer, but [it] creates space for the answer.”

Country Over Party

Putting the nation above a particular ideology or political party comes first, according to a few people on this panel. Matthew Dowd, an independent and political analyst at ABC news, said Democrats need a reasonable candidate to run in 2020 that can speak to large swaths of the country; political strategist Rick Wilson said Republicans would be in trouble if the Democratic Party could find a war veteran from the midwest to run on their ticket.

Trump and Mexico

Speakers from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border weighed in on the evolving relationship — think DACA, NAFTA and the proposed border wall — between the two nations since Trump took office.

The Story of Harvey

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told Tribune Editor-in-Chief Emily Ramshaw that flooding from Hurricane Harvey was “the most surreal experience of my career,” and he called on the Texas Legislature to aid in recovery efforts in Houston and surrounding areas. He also ruled out the possibility of running on the Democratic ticket for governor in 2018.  

A Conversation with John Cornyn and Ted Cruz

U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz talked Sunday with Tribune CEO Evan Smith about Hurricane Harvey, #TakeAKnee and the upcoming election cycle. Among the news we covered here: Cornyn announced he’s backing Cruz for re-election in 2018, plus he is running for office himself again in 2020.


Full audio is available here, and check out the best moments from our podcast track.


You can also browse photos from all three days of the Festival here — and download them with the code ttf2017.