The Texas Tribune Festival, an Austin staple for the past eight years, kicks off downtown today with a keynote featuring former Secretary of State John Kerry.
Story by Chad Lyle
This year marks first time the festival has not been located on campus at the University of Texas at Austin. According to Evan Smith, founder of the Texas Tribune, the festival will also feature one of the most high-profile guest lineups. Appearances will be made by House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, senator Jeff Flake, civil rights activist DeRay McKesson, former president of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards, and Democratic Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke. Several other big names in politics and journalism will also be speaking at the event.
Outside of the banner one-on-one interviews with political heavyweights, the Tribune Festival will host panel discussions dedicated to a range of issues from criminal justice reform to education. Texans at the forefront of a movement to legalize marijuana statewide will present a conversation called “Yes, We Cannabis,” while former state senator Wendy Davis and other women who have held elected office in Texas will discuss reaching gender parity in the state for a talk called “Gender, Power, and Leadership.”
Both political junkies and casual observers of the news should be able to find engaging events within the festival’s jam-packet roster, and tickets can still be purchased online. The closing keynote — an interview between Evan Smith and Beto O’Rourke — will be held Sunday night.