Ok, get out your planner, because here are your main options for an awesome year of liberty conferences. If you think of something I’ve missed, add it in the comments!
- Very like the national convention in the summer (see #2), but on a smaller, state-based scale. Anyone who registers can attend (no admissions requirements). These will occur in Spring 2014. I’ve linked to the 2013 page, but the 2014 page (with different states) will be live soon!
- When: Late July/early August (more details coming soon!)
- Who: All attendees must apply and be admitted
- Where: Arlington, VA (just outside of DC; very Metro accessible)
- What: The YAL National Convention is serious business. It’s not a wander-into-whatever-random-events-sound-interesting type conference; it’s an intense four days with a strong focus on training for effective campus activism and political engagement. Past special guests have included Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Mike Lee, Lawrence Reed, Remy, etc. There’s an exhibit hall with lots of other pro-liberty orgs represented. If accepted, you will have a lot of fun, but you will also take a lot of notes.
- Cost: $30, spending money, whatever it takes to get you there. Hotel rooms, lunch & dinner, and all training costs and materials are included in the $30 registration fee. (This is a sweet deal — super affordable.)
- When: Valentine’s Day weekend, February 14-16
- Who: Anyone who buys a ticket
- Where: Washington, DC
- What: More of a classic conference format than the YAL Convention. There’s an exhibit hall, some main sessions, and lots of breakout sessions which you can elect to attend or skip. There’s always a taping of the Stossel Show, and names like Tom Palmer, Jeffrey Tucker, and Radley Balko are lined up to speak this year.
- Cost: Tickets range between $0 and $50 depending on your status as a student, etc. You will also have to pay all your transportation, hotel, and meal costs. The Hyatt where it’s hosted offers a discount rate: $175/night, which comes out to like $43/night + tax if you share the room with three other people.
- When: March 6-8
- Who: Anyone who gets a ticket
- Where: National Harbor, MD (right outside DC, but NOT Metro accessible)
- What: All the exhibitors. All the speakers. All the random old people dressed up as everything from Thomas Jefferson to Transformers to inanimate objects. CPAC is fascinating and insane; and as a supporter of liberty you’ll leave encouraged, discouraged, and mystified at the old people all at once.
- Cost: Tickets start at $50 and go up from there depending on whether you’re a student, when you buy, how much access you want, etc. You’ll also have to foot all the bills for hotel, food, spending money, etc. Costs will be similar to ISFLC.
- When: July 20-26
- Who: Like the YAL Convention, this is admission-based
- Where: Auburn, AL
- What: A week of serious study of Austrian economics. You will have homework. You will be up late reading. There will not be very many girls. You’ll meet many incredibly smart people.
- Cost: Free, if you get accepted with a scholarship. All your meals and housing will be included. If you need to arrive early or stay late, you can pay $63 a night for a single in the dorms.
- When: Usually the closest weekend to Constitution Day (September 17)
- Who: Anyone who purchases a ticket
- Where: Chantilly, VA (close to DC, but farther than CPAC and YAL; NOT Metro accessible)
- What: A smaller, more libertarian version of CPAC. Exhibit hall, main speakers, breakout sessions. Also includes some practical training in the style of the YAL Convention, but it’s typically a bit less in-depth. Good selection of speakers; somewhat similar to what you’d find at the YAL Convention.
- Cost: A student ticket was $40 last year, and you can buy extra stuff like attending a reception with Ron Paul. If they hold it at the same location this year, you have to have car transportation or stay at the same hotel, because it’s not in an urban area. Expect costs similar to ISFLC.
Other events to consider:
- IHS Summer Seminars: The application deadlines for 2014 have passed, but these are great, if somewhat smaller events, which take place all over the country and are both educational and affordable.
- ISI Conferences: They have a number of different, smaller events. I’m not as familiar with these, but it’s worth a look.
- SFL Regional Conferences: These happen in the fall (thus the outdated page) and are all over the country. They’re free, one-day events which feed you and usually have at least one big(ish) name speaker at each.