Dallas has been looking for a festival for some time.
Look at Austin. They’ve got Austin City Limits and South by Southwest, and what do we have?
“We have been craving an event,” said Stephanie Faulk, director of communications at Visit Dallas, a nonprofit that promotes the city to business and tourists. “We wanted something really culturally important to us.”
Enter the Edge of Texas, a two-day festival coming to downtown Dallas Nov. 10 and 11, organized by Texas Monthly.
It’ll be two days of live concerts, geeky beer talks, foodie experiences and art demonstrations, as well as discussions about women’s empowerment, criminal justice and what it means to be a Texan.
Texas Monthly editor Tim Taliaferro said the idea came from the May issue of the magazine, which included a massive photo essay photographing the entirety of the state's physical border. From there, the magazine explored other Texan “edges,” other frontiers in medicine, food, art and more.
The magazine was also looking to move into the world of live events. It falls in line with a trend of journalism operations in the state: The Texas Tribune offers an annual live TribFest where political commentators share a stage with politicians. The Dallas Morning News sponsors the Dallas Festival of Ideas and has recently begun panel discussions with local leaders that are free and open to the public.
Taliaferro said he hopes to give the live audience at Edge of Texas an experience similar to the magazine, plus more.
For example, a craft beer panel will feature a conversation between Texas Monthly contributor Aaron Chamberlain and a handful of Texas brewers. After the panel, guests will have an opportunity to try a few beers and discuss them with the brewers.
Other panels will discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey with Port Aransas mayor Claude Brown, criminal justice with Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall, and what it means to be a Texan with Mark Cuban.
The panel sessions will be held during the day on Saturday at the Joule Hotel and The Eye on Main Street downtown from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday night will be a “very Dallas society party,” Faulk said, complete with a charcuterie pop-up and fragrance bar at the Fashion Industry Gallery on Ross Avenue.
Saturday night will feature a campfire-themed party at the newly renovated Longhorn Ballroom with music by Austin’s Shinyribs and Dallas’ Sarah Jaffe, fire-cooking demonstrations and local artists and designers.
VIP tickets for all three portions are $200, and individual passes to either party or the daytime sessions are $85 apiece.
Although it’s the inaugural festival, Visit Dallas officials are already hoping the festival becomes a tradition for the city.
“The plan is to keep it going,” Faulk said. “One day we hope that this could be a South By."