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Six days of art, ideas, and music

A national festival of music, literature, and ideas organized by The University of Tulsa

May 30 to June 4, 2023

Tulsa, Oklahoma


Switchyard is a national festival of literature, music and ideas organized by The University of Tulsa.  Running across five days, it will feature a dozen keynote events with some of the nation’s most creative thinkers and performances by more than 30 local and national performance artists—all based in the heart of Downtown Tulsa. 

Switchyard will invite people to cross the tracks that once divided this city to explore our complicated histories, seek new points of connection and activate the transformative power of art.  In this inaugural year, we’ll focus on attempts to ban, censor or suppress challenging ideas—new and old.  This will mean digging into the past, imagining alternative identities and dreaming of rich new futures.  Each evening, these lively events will give way to a vibrant set of concerts based at the historic Cain’s Ballroom. 

The Switchyard All-Access Pass provides complimentary admission to the 2023 World of Bob Dylan, an independent festival that welcomes fans, artists, scholars and musicians from around the world.  It will range broadly across the Nobel winner’s music, art, life and enduring influence.

Keynote Speakers

May 30

  • PEN America and FIRE on Academic Freedom 
  • Rebecca Makkai 
  • Art Spiegelman 

May 31 

  • PEN America, Dennis R. Neill Equality Center and Tulsa City-County Library on Book Banning 
  • Ilya Kaminsky 
  • Maia Kobabe 

June 1 

  • Kate Farris 
  • Reginald Betts 
  • Natasha Trethewey 

June 2 (World of Bob Dylan) 

  • Cass Sunstein 
  • Greil Marcus 
  • Margo Price 

June 3 (World of Bob Dylan) 

  • Daphne Brooks 
  • Special Musical Guest (to be announce in Feb) 

June 4 (World of Bob Dylan/Closing Event) 

  • Valeria Luiselli 

Featured Performers

  • Announcements coming soon. 

Magazine and Podcast

Switchyard is more than an annual festival—it’s an opportunity to create connections, engage new ideas and seek new points of departures all year long.  To support this mission, we’ll also soon launch a Switchyard-branded magazine and podcast series featuring original work by our keynote speakers and a diverse array of others.  All festival participants will get a free preview copy of the first issue.  Follow us on social media and here for more details. 

Exclusive Discounted Hotel Reservations


Registration Information

Choose from the following five Switchyard tracks:

Pass TypeEarly-Bird RegistrationRegularLate
Full Festival Pass$225$300$400
Ideas Track$50$75$100
Music Track$175$225$300
World of Bob Dylan$200$250$325
Ends 3/15Ends 5/15After 5/15
  • Full Festival Pass

This includes admission to all events at Switchyard and the World of Bob Dylan, including featured keynotes, book signings, panel discussions, film screenings, special receptions and five days of music featuring more than 30 bands. 

  • Ideas Festival Pass

This pass offers heavily discounted admission to all Switchyard keynotes May 30-June 1, the three World of Bob Dylan keynotes and the special closing session on Sunday, June 4, featuring Valeria Luiselli’s immersive exploration of the U.S.-Mexico border. 

  • Concert Pass

We’ve got a terrific line-up of local and national bands with headline acts on the main stage of the historic Cain’s Ballroom and folk, Americana and blues bands in rotation late into the evening at the main conference venue. 

  • The 2023 World of Bob Dylan

Please visit the World of Bob Dylan website to register only for this event.

  • VIP Passes (limited quantities)

VIP passes offer an easy way to avoid the lines, get guaranteed premium seating at all events and have access to a special lounge stocked with food and snacks.  VIPs get exclusive merchandise, a book signed by the speaker of their choice and a free subscription to the new Switchyard magazine.