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The Texas Tribune Festival is an innovative and engaging three-day event for people who are passionate about the issues that affect all Texans. Program tracks include criminal justice, energy, the environment, health care, higher education, immigration, public education and transportation, in addition to a special track of keynote speakers whose influence extends along – and beyond – these program tracks.

Each year, this three-day event is held on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin in the heart of Austin. Sign up for email updates for more information on how to join us in 2014.


2014 Festival Dates Announced: Sept. 19-21

Mark your calendars! We have announced our 2014 dates.

In 2013, we gathered 2,500 attendees to participate in our weekend of events, featuring more than 150 speakers and eight tracks of content, plus a track of keynote speakers.

In 2014, we will once again feature the most important newsmakers and leaders in Texas politics and public policy along with some exciting new programming tracks and surprise speakers. Sign up for email alerts today to be among the first to receive program updates and special early bird pricing information.

Watch the keynotes

You can now watch videos from all of the keynote sessions, including interviews with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, state Sen. Wendy Davis; a panel discussion with Battleground Texas senior adviser Jeremy Bird, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and former Houston Mayor Bill White; and discussions with House Speaker Joe Straus and Texas first lady Anita Perry. 

Welcome to #TribuneFest: Badge Pickup Details

Ready to dive into this year's Festival? Stop by the registration desk on the M2 level of the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center today to pick up your Festival badge. To receive your badge, you will be asked to present a government-issued ID. You must present your Festival badge to attend any Festival events, including the Opening Session and Party On The Plaza on Friday night, so arrive early to claim yours.

The registration desk hours are as follows:

  • Friday, Sept. 27: 1 - 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 28: 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 29: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Become a member, check on your membership status or pick up limited-edition Tribune swag at the membership table in the AT&T Center lobby. 

New This Year: #StudentsAtTheFest

We know that students who attend The Texas Tribune Festival are the future leaders of Texas and beyond. And whether you're passionate about policy issues or are an aspiring politician, journalist or academic, you crave resume-building opportunities and engagement. With that in mind, the Tribune and the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life have created #StudentsAtTheFest, an enhanced experience to help you get the most out of the Festival.

For those around on Friday afternoon, get snacks and drinks with Tribune reporters and staff at the Cactus Café before the big kickoff with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Meet fellow student participants, learn networking tips and tricks, and pick up the schedule for meet-and-greets in the #StudentsAtTheFest Lounge, which will be open all day Saturday. 

The heart of the Festival is the panels on Saturday, and we encourage all students to take in as many as possible. But when you need a break to charge your phone or grab a snack, if you want to RSVP for Sunday’s student-only live TribCast recording, stop by the #StudentsAtTheFest Lounge in Room 1.106 on the first floor of the Student Activity Center. Our sponsors and special guests will be on hand to say hello, and the Annette Strauss Institute has some fun games and gifts. The lounge is centrally located to all Student Activity Center and College of Liberal Arts tracks, so drop by.

Following Sunday’s exciting closing activities, students are invited to come to KUT in the Belo Center for New Media for lunch, a radio station tour and a live recording of the TribCast led by Reeve Hamilton and KUT’s Ben Philpott. Kev Russell, of Shiny Ribs and The Gourds, who recorded the original TribCast jingle, will be in the studio to join in on the fun. 

Use the hashtag #StudentsAtTheFest to connect with other students and for a chance to be retweeted by the Tribune. Get started with your student experience by telling us more about yourself here

State Sen. Wendy Davis is confirmed for the Festival's closing keynote

We have confirmed that state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, will be the featured guest of the Festival's closing session on Sunday, Sept. 29. After seeing U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during the opening evening session on Friday, Sept. 27, you won't want to miss this fascinating one-on-one conversation between Davis and the Tribune's CEO and editor-in-chief Evan Smith.

Also, remember that today is your last chance to register for $160. At midnight, the price goes up to $195.

Full Schedule Announced

We’re thrilled to announce the release of the full schedule for The Texas Tribune Festival, including tracks, panels and speakers. Our lineup this year is better than ever with a special keynote track featuring newsmakers and leaders in Texas politics and public policy. Browse through our list of amazing speakers and panels, and start planning your weekend at The Texas Tribune Festival!

The 2014 elections are sure to be an exciting time in Texas politics, and this year's Festival will feature candidates from the state’s most competitive races. Attorney General Greg Abbott, the front-runner in the race for governor, will join Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief of the Tribune, for a one-on-one discussion.

Our keynote panel, And The Next Attorney General of Texas Will Be…, will bring together three of the candidates in the race — state Rep. Dan Branch, state Sen. Ken Paxton and Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman — to discuss the legal issues facing Texas. The Festival will also include appearances by candidates for lieutenant governor, including incumbent David Dewhurst, state Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.

Fans of Texas sports will not want to miss our panel on The Fight Over Paying Student Athletes, which includes some of the most influential voices in the world of college sports. Former NFL player Dan Neil and former UT women's basketball coach Jody Conradt will debate the merits and pitfalls of salaries for college athletes. After the abortion bill debate and filibuster that put Texas in the national spotlight, health care officials, lawmakers and citizens are wondering what's next for women's health. For our session Abortion and Women's Health: What Now?, legislators including state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and state Rep. Jessica Farrar will discuss the challenges facing women's health statewide.

Several keynote panels will tackle the issue of Texas' shifting political landscape. Former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey and state Rep. Jonathan Stickland will join other Tea Party leaders in the session What Does the Tea Party Want? State Rep. Poncho Nevárez, state Rep. Larry Gonzales and other political figures will be featured in our panel on Latinos and the Republican Party, a discussion about the GOP's ability to represent Latino interests.

Don't miss out on our early-bird rate of $160 per badge. Register for the Festival today!

Opening and Closing Sessions Bookend the Festival

The 2013 Texas Tribune Festival is bringing 150 of the state's government and business leaders together for dialogue and debate on Texas' future. 

The Festival kicks off on Friday evening with a conversation between U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and the Tribune's co-founder and editor-in-chief Evan Smith. Cruz is serving his first term in Congress and is vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.One of the most outspoken members of the Senate, Cruz will discuss Texas' role in nationwide politics.

After the opening session, Festival attendees will join speakers, moderators and Tribune reporters at the Party on the Plaza. Enjoy cocktails and hors d'ouevres while socializing under the iconic UT Tower.

After Saturday’s day of panel discussions, the Festival concludes with four notable Texas Democrats for a conversation on turning Texas blue. U.S. Representative Pete Gallego, former gubernatorial nominee Bill White, Battleground Texas founder Jeremy Bird and rising Democratic star state Senator Wendy Davis will discuss this unique moment in Texas politics. 

Look for our full festival line-up on August 26 and register today for the best rate.

New Talent Additions

For the third annual Texas Tribune Festival, we're recruiting the most influential voices in Texas politics and public policy. Our recently confirmed speakers include the legislators and industry leaders at the forefront of the issues facing Texas.

As the Texas population continues to grow, our transportation and infrastructure must adapt to keep pace. Some of the leaders spearheading the high-speed rail movement, including Peter LeCody and Robert Eckels, will join us for discussions on the future of Texas transit.

This year, we are expanding our conversation on Texas education by creating separate tracks for higher and public education. Many of the major figures in Texas education will speak at the festival on charter schools, curriculum changes and more. KIPP Co-Founder Mike Feinberg and Uplift Education CEO Yasmin Bhatia are among the speakers who will be deliberating education policy at the Festival.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from some of the biggest names in higher education, including University of Houston President Renu Khator, College Board Regional Vice President Richard Middleton and Western Governors University Chancellor Ray Martinez.

For both liberal and conservative politics, grassroots organizers are becoming a stronger force in guiding the Texas Legislature. State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, Grassroots America Executive Director JoAnn Fleming and NE Tarrant Tea Party President Julie McCarty will be discussing the goals of the Texas Tea Party movement.

Buy your badge for $160 before our early-bird discount ends! After September 5, the registration rate will be $195. Our full Festival line-up will be available on August 26.

Festival Highlight Video Now Online

For the past two years, The Texas Tribune has gathered an impressive array of political headliners and policymakers to the University of Texas at Austin campus to take on the biggest issues facing the state. Enjoy this highlight reel from previous years and join us this September for the third annual weekend of debate and dialogue, Sept. 27-29.


Exclusive Walking Tours Added

In a new addition to this year's Festival, we're offering exclusive walking tours of unique Austin landmarks. These tours are led by a prominent authority in the field and will offer you a behind-the-scenes look not normally accessible to the public. All tours include a light meal. You must purchase your ticket when you register for the Festival.

Although space is extremely limited, if the walking tour you would like to attend is sold out, please email to be added to the waiting list.

Friday, 4–5:30 p.m.

  • Harry Ransom Center 
    Associate Director Stephen Mielke presents the Watergate Papers, featuring the reporters’ original notes and articles presented alongside archival materials used in the trial. This tour includes a walk through the underground stacks of the library.
  • Tickets are $50 and will include refreshments.

Sunday, 12:30–2 p.m.

  • Texas State Cemetery 
    Superintendent Harry Bradley offers a guided tour of the famous Texas State Cemetery, featuring commentary about notable Texans and their fates, as well as the lore of the historic site.
  • Tickets are $50 and will include a light lunch at the cemetery.
  • University of Texas Tower 
    UT-Austin President Bill Powers hosts a tour of the Austin landmark that soars above campus and of the private presidential suite.
  • Tickets are $50 and will include a light lunch in the presidential suite.
  • LBJ Presidential Library and Museum 
    Director Mark Updegrove leads a tour of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, including the closed-to-the-public private presidential chambers and archival stacks.
  • Tickets are $50 and will include a light lunch at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
  • Texas State Capitol 
    Curator Ali James guides a behind-the-scenes tour of the pink dome, including the chambers, courtrooms, Legislative Reference Library, and the furnishings and decorative art from the Capitol Historical Artifact collection.
  • Tickets are free of charge, but you must reserve your spot when you register for the Festival. This tour will include a light lunch at the Capitol.

Last Chance: Early Bird Discount Ends July 18

The third annual Texas Tribune Festival is just around the corner, and we’re offering the best deal on registration right now.

From rising Democratic star state Sen. Wendy Davis to national headliner GOP U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, our list of confirmed speakers already includes the newsmakers you want to hear from, and we’re just getting started. This year’s Festival will feature 150 speakers over three days of discussion and debate on the issues that are important to all Texans.

New this year, we’ve split combined tracks. Energy, the environment, public education and higher education will each be on separate tracks, along with transportation, criminal justice, immigration and health care. Also new this year, a keynote track will feature luminaries spanning the issues in one-on-one interviews.

Register today and receive the lowest registration rate of $130—almost 50 percent off the walk-up rate. Students, educators and Texas Tribune members receive further discounts – email for more information on how to claim your discount.

A Special Invitation to Current Texas Tribune Members

As a benefit of membership, today through 11:59 p.m. on July 18, current Texas Tribune members may register to attend the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival for just $100 – that's more than 50 percent off the walk-up price.

In addition to a range of other benefits, Tribune members will have full access to the Festival Members' Lounge – an oasis to recharge, refresh and go, complete with coffee, snacks and limited-edition Tribune swag. Saturday evening, members will also enjoy a complimentary cocktail at the garden reception.

If you appreciate the free news and information we deliver to millions and plan to join us at the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival, please consider becoming a member today. Membership begins at just $35 for an individual and $60 for a household and is 100 percent tax-deductible. We hope you will join us for this exciting event.


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