Live From (Your Laptop on) Congress Avenue, It's #TribFest2021!

The virtual Texas Tribune Festival kicks off on Sept. 20


Julián Castro at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival. Castro, along with his brother Joaquin, will speak at this fall's virtual festival. (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Once again this year, political Austin's favorite fall schmoozefest will be a Zoomfest instead. The annual Texas Tribune Festival begins this coming Monday, Sept. 20, with six days of programming delving into policy and politics from the local to the global. TribFest 2021 (or #TribFest21) has the unusual task of competing this year with the real-life political festival of the third special session of the 87th Texas Legislature as it completes its still-mysterious redistricting drama (see facing) and as the state clashes with the Biden Justice Department over Texas' new draconian six-week abortion ban (read more).

These and other topics will likely have the Tribune's producers working until the last minute to keep the festival's prerecorded watch-on-demand programming current with events. Most of the few sessions being presented live are reserved for premium ticket holders, though some are set aside for Texas Tribune members or for students, who continue to receive steep discounts to attend – a holdover, in part, from TribFest's first days as an event held on the UT-Austin campus.

Then again, if you're investing in a TribFest ticket you might want to focus on topics you haven't seen in the news every day. Like, how are Joaquin and Julián Castro doing? Remember them? Are they running for something? Perhaps they will make 2022 news in their session premiering Sept. 23 at 8am. (Or, in Julián Castro's case, earlier at his VIP live session with Tribune CEO Evan Smith, Monday at 1pm.)

If all you care about is 2022 politics, you can start Monday bright and early at 9am (or on demand thereafter) with Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the colorful maybe­-favorite in that state's upcoming U.S. Senate race. Later in the week you can catch one-on-ones with the two GOP candidates for Texas Attorney General who aren't the indicted incumbent: Land Commissioner George P. Bush (Sept. 25, noon) and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman (Sept. 24, noon). Or you can hear from two national spinmeisters of yore, Obama sidekick Robert Gibbs and Bush family friend Karl Rove (Sept. 25, noon), because why not?

Now, if you seriously don't want to hear about the 2022 horse races, you can instead go into the paint with NBA Hall of Famer (and new Austinite) Chris Bosh and tennis legend (and longtime Austinite) Andy Roddick as they talk about "sports and politics and politics as sports" (Sept. 21, noon). Or hear from theologian Russell Moore, one of the leading thinkers of the religious right, about his surprising, but maybe inevitable, split from the Southern Baptist Convention (Sept. 22, 2pm). Or grapple with the global climate emergency with the help of three near­-legendary Texas experts – Texas Southern's Robert Bullard, the Nature Conservancy's Katharine Hayhoe, and UT-Austin's Michael Webber (Sept. 22, 9am).

There will, of course, be plenty of programs featuring Texas lawmakers and leaders, and discussions of redistricting and reproductive rights and racism and COVID-19 and crime rates and everything else ripped from the headlines. You can discuss the day's programs and events in online networking sessions each day, or you can hang out on Con­gress Avenue near the Capitol with your laptop and it'll feel almost like normal. (You may even see Evan Smith walk by.)


Visit festival.texastribune.org to buy tickets, learn more about the program, and view sessions (via the Hopin platform) beginning Monday, Sept. 20.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Texas Tribune Festival
2019 Tribfest Takes Politics to the Streets
2019 Tribfest Takes Politics to the Streets
All eyes on Texas

Mike Clark-Madison, Sept. 27, 2019

All Politics Is Local at Texas Tribune Festival
All Politics Is Local at Texas Tribune Festival
Evan Smith leads the fest's move Downtown and brings national newsmakers to Austin

Mike Clark-Madison, Sept. 28, 2018

More by Mike Clark-Madison
As Texas Redistricting Maps Advance, Lawmakers Aspire for Newly Drawn Seats
As Texas Redistricting Maps Advance, Lawmakers Aspire for Newly Drawn Seats
Talarico goes south, Doggett west, as Casar trades up

Oct. 22, 2021

Austin at Large: Really? You and What Army?
Austin at Large: Really? You and What Army?
Hand-wringing on all sides of all issues reflects our emerging crisis of legitimacy

Oct. 22, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Texas Tribune Festival, 2021 Texas Tribune Festival, Julian Castro, Joaquin Castro, Evan Smith, Texas Tribune, John Fetterman, George P. Bush, Eva Guzman, Robert Gibbs, Karl Rove, Chris Bosh, Andy Roddick, Russell Moore, Robert Bullard, Katharine Hayhoe, Michael Webber

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle