The Second Annual CityFest Announces Keynote Speaker

Tuesday 24th, September 2019 / 14:31 Written by
The Second Annual CityFest Announces Keynote Speaker

The Nonprofit News Outlet, Rivard Report, Reveals the Mainstage Speaker, Location, and Other Key Details for this Year’s CityFest

The program for CityFest, San Antonio’s urban ideas and public policy festival presented by the Rivard Report, is taking shape with an array of national and local thought leaders coming together over three days in November to address the city’s many opportunities and challenges.

The program opens Wednesday, November 6, at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, two weeks after Bexar County, the City of San Antonio, and the performing arts community have celebrated the fifth anniversary of the world-class hall. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff will deliver opening remarks on the luncheon program, Changing Cities: Thinking Big and Following Through. 

San Antonio native and visionary community leader, Robert Hammond, whose advocacy sparked creation of the world-renowned High Line Park in New York City, will be the keynote speaker. Hammond is a founder of Friends of the High Line, a nonprofit conservation group dedicated to preserving and restoring the abandoned elevated railroad line running through a mile and a half of Manhattan. After his remarks, Editor and Publisher Robert Rivard will join Judge Wolff and Hammond on stage for a conversation and audience Q&A. 


San Antonio CityFest, staged at the Southwest School of Art and Pearl Stable in its inaugural year, will continue Thursday, November 7, with programming to be announced, and Friday, November 8, in the St. Paul Square District, home to the Rivard Report offices and a historic anchor of a fast redeveloping near-Eastside.

The festival was launched in 2018 to give San Antonio citizens and leaders the opportunity to step back from the pace of daily work and life to hear from invited speakers about developments in other destination U.S. cities and reflect on San Antonio’s possibilities.

CityFest is inspired by the Texas Tribune’s Tribfest. Where Tribfest focuses on state and national politics, CityFest is decidedly urban. Invited guests who will appear with local thought leaders over three days include mayors, city managers, tech experts, urbanists, and educators from around Texas and outside the state.

Visitors to CityFest can expect panel discussions moderated by Rivard Report journalists in addition to one-on-one interviews, hands-on food and beverage experiences, and live music from bands to be announced at a later date. Panel discussions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Austin-San Antonio rail;
  • Making streets safe and expanding mobility options in San Antonio;
  • The urgent strides to make workplaces safe against active shooters;
  • The growth of San Antonio’s technology sector;
  • Climate change in Texas;
  • Expanding early childhood education in Bexar County;
  • How Texas city managers are grappling with new laws forcing budget cuts and limiting taxing options; and
  • Emerging young leaders in the city and county.

“Our vision for CityFest is to create an annual gathering of San Antonio’s leaders, invited national and regional speakers, and engaged citizens from all generations and metro communities to imagine a better, more livable, and equitable city,” said Robert Rivard, editor and publisher. “CityFest aims to be a catalyst for all of us to think more boldly, to recognize best practices in other cities we can adapt and shape locally, and to inspire more citizens to become more involved in the life of the city.”


  • Tickets for the luncheon featuring Robert Hammond are $99 for general admission and $85 for Rivard Report members.
  • Tickets for the festival range from $5 to $165 based on programming and festival day. 
  • All tickets for the festival can be purchased here. A full schedule of additional programming and speakers will be announced at a later date. 

CityFest will bring important and relevant dialogue to the city with the help of its presenting sponsors: the San Antonio Area Foundation and the City of San Antonio. For more information, visit

ABOUT CITYFESTFounded in 2018, CityFest is a festival held annually in San Antonio, Texas, presented by nonprofit news outlet Rivard Report. The festival brings together local politicians, thought leaders, and community members to discuss relevant topics affecting San Antonio, as well as ways to help adapt and grow the city in a productive and responsible way. CityFest features a series of guest speakers, live music, activations, and more each year. For more information about the festival, visit

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