Running from September 27-29, the 2018 Texas Tribune Festival converges on downtown Austin for three days of politics, public policy, and journalism. Civic leaders and journalists will discuss the most pressing policy issues facing our state and nation and, perhaps most importantly, the big-picture solutions.
Check the schedule for the full lineup of speakers, panels, and interviews, but put these must-see items on your list.
Events you don’t want to miss
Women at #TribFest18 Lunch
Texas Tribune editor-in-chief Emily Ramshaw hosts the first-ever Women At #TribFest18 lunch. The light-bites mixer brings together top women in Texas politics, business, technology, and public policy, including several political candidates on the November ballot. Open to Festival attendees.
September 27 at noon. Festival Hub at 800 Congress Avenue.
Yoga on the lawn
On Friday and Saturday mornings, enjoy yoga on the Capitol lawn, another Festival first, hosted hosted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. Open to Festival attendees, and first 25 people get a free yoga mat.
September 28 and 29 from 7-8 am. Southwest corner of the Texas State Capitol lawn.
Open Congress Street Festival
Ramshaw promises that Saturday's street festival, Open Congress, will be phenomenal. This event, which merges politics, news, and community, includes three tents of free programming, lively conversations and debates, plus book signings and, of course, food trucks, including such Austin favorites as Mmmpanadas, Kebabalicious, Evil Weiner, Llama’s Peruvian Creole, Chilaquil Mexican Eatery, Austin Land and Cattle, Steel City Pops, and Stony’s Pizza. No badge required.
September 29. Takes place between 8th and 11th streets along Congress Avenue.
Speakers and panels you need to hear
This session, part of The Trump Administration: Year 2 track, is a conversation with John Brennan, Nicholas Rasmussen, Richard Engel, and William McRaven.
September 28 at 8:30 am. Paramount Theater.
The Tribune’s signature interview format always hits it out of the park, so expect another home run from CEO Evan Smith's one-on-one conversation with Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Trump.
September 28 at 1:30 pm. Stateside at the Paramount.
Likewise for Ramshaw’s one-on-one with former HUD Secretary and potential presidential hopeful Julián Castro.
September 29 at 9. H+K Strategies North Tent (part of Open Congress).
Another Evan Smith one-on-one, this time with Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke, closes out the Festival. Smith will ask the three-term El Paso congressman about his headline-making U.S. Senate race against Ted Cruz, who opened the 2013 Festival (albeit via livestream, not in person). Learn more about the issues and O’Rourke’s vision for Texas.
September 29 at 7 pm. Long Center for the Performing Arts.
Insider tips for doing #TribFest 18 right
Best event for newcomers
Trivia Night with Steve Kornacki, national political correspondent for MSNBC and NBC News and author of The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism. This special edition of the Texas Tribune's Trivia Night covers current events and politics, with teams of up to six competing for prizes. Special prize for the best team names and Kornacki also will sign copies of his book. A badge is not required but tickets are and available here.
September 28, 7:30-10 pm. Scholz Garten.
Best event for long-timers
Swing by the Festival Hub to buy featured books and meet big-name authors including Amanda Carpenter, Gaslighting America; Mimi Swartz, Ticker; Henry Cisneros, Building Equitable Cities; Bethany McLean, Saudi America; Cecile Richards, Make Trouble; and Lawrence Wright, God Save Texas.
September 28, 12:45-5:30 pm and September 29, 10:15 am-4 pm. The Festival Hub at 800 Congress Ave.
Best tip to avoid long lunch lines
Go at off-peak times. At the Open Congress food trucks, pick the one with the shortest line. As Ramshaw suggests, “I promise they're all good.”