Since its inception in 2011, the Texas Tribune has brought the who's who of politicos to Austin for its annual festival. This year, however, the Texas Tribune Festival is gathering the biggest names in politics together in the midst of perhaps the most contentious political climate in history.
On August 1, the homegrown festival, now in its eighth year, released the final lineup for its 2018 festival, and short of bringing Abe Lincoln back to life, the weekend promises to be one monumental bash. Running September 27-29, this year also marks the first time Trib Fest will be held in venues across downtown Austin. (It was previously hosted on the University of Texas at Austin.)
Among the national politerati scheduled to appear at this year's festival is former Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R), co-hosts of Showtime’s The Circus Alex Wagner and John Heilemann, former U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, author and civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson, George W. Bush's former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, comedian and host of the Black on the Air Larry Wilmore, author and former head of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards, PBS NewsHour's Yamiche Alcindor, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.
Texas has no shortage of representation either. Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Beto O’Rourke, Democratic candidate for Texas Governor Lupe Valdez, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Helotes), Republican congressional candidate for Texas’ 21st congressional district Chip Roy, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, former San Antonio Mayor and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, and Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman will all participate.
"Together, attendees — along with more than 300 groundbreaking thinkers, lawmakers, community leaders and industry experts from across Texas and beyond — will explore the biggest issues of President Donald Trump’s second year in office; what Texas’ changing demographics mean for everyday Texans; the 2018 — and even 2020 — elections; and the most pressing topics facing our state in public and higher education, criminal justice, immigration, health care, energy, the environment and transportation," festival organizers said in a release.
Program highlights include Kerry in conversation with Texas Tribune editor and CEO Evan Smith; a conversation on urban development with Austin Mayor Steve Adler, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Mayor Dee Margo of El Paso, as well as former Irving mayor and current U.S. Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Beth Van Duyne; and more.
Badges for this year's fest are on sale now, and range from $300 for a Conference Pass, which includes access to all regular programing, and $500 for an Executive Pass, which includes access to regular programming, prime seating, lunches, and more. Student badges and educator passes are also available for $50 and $75, respectively. Single-day passes are priced beginning at $150.