Over the years, we’ve made some pretty big announcements at FreedomFest.
2011: The Anthem Libertarian Film Festival made its debut.
- 2013: John Stossel began filming his show live from our stage.
- 2015: Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman agreed to debate Wall Street Journal columnist Steve Moore.
- 2015: We made room for presidential candidate Donald Trump just five days before the conference started.
- 2017: We beamed William Shatner onto our stage.
- 2020: We were forced to cancel FreedomFest just ten days before opening night. 🙁
And Now, our Biggest Announcement in Nearly Twenty Years:
We’re Moving to South Dakota!
After going through the painful process of cancelling FreedomFest in 2020, and with so many governors in so many nanny states imposing new shutdowns and curfews at the drop of a cough, we knew we could not trust Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak or the hoteliers at his mercy to host FreedomFest again until Covid-19 is well behind us.
So we’re moving to the state with the most liberty-minded governor in the nation, the state that never shut down this year, the state that hosted nearly half a million bikers in August with a scant .09% infection rate, the state that values freedom over fear: South Dakota, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” And Governor Kristi Noem herself will welcome us to her great state. Our theme this year is “healthy, wealthy and wise,” because if there was ever a year when we need to revisit these principles, this is it!
South Dakotans are self-reliant and resilient. They recognize the sovereignty of the individual and the importance of choice and accountability. Governor Noem has encouraged individual businesses to develop protocols and solutions, and she has urged her citizens to make their own decisions based on their own risk factors. Yes, we should be careful, and we will be at FreedomFest 2021. But we don’t need to cower in fear and we don’t need governments mandating how to take care of ourselves. Businesses all over the country have been adapting and innovating all year to keep their goods flowing, their doors open and their customers and employees safe; Governor Noem has trusted them to do it right.
But … It’s South Dakota!
South Dakota is rugged, independent, and beautiful. Gold miners opened it and gamblers settled it. Mt. Rushmore soars over it and Crazy Horse rides astride it. The scenery is breathtaking, from the rocky landscape of the Badlands to the pine forests of the Black Hills. Its Homestake Mine is the largest and deepest gold mine in North America. Its monuments at Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial are two of the most spectacular sites in America. And these are all less than half an hour from our conference center in Rapid City.
So here’s our second big announcement: For the first time ever, we’re offering group excursions! You’ll be able to mingle socially with other attendees while enjoying the breathtaking sights of South Dakota (and maybe even experiencing a stage coach robbery…). And you won’t have to miss a thing at FreedomFest because we’re planning our schedule with excursions in mind.
Think you’ll crave the gambling in Las Vegas? We’ve got you covered with an evening tour to the casinos in Deadwood. Looking for a patriotic experience? We’re going to the laser light show at Mt. Rushmore on another evening. Want an immersive experience? Join us for the two-day pre-conference overnight trip to the fascinating areas surrounding Deadwood, and stay for our day trip on Sunday.
Galt’s Gulch, South Dakota
Plus we’ll be having receptions, entertainment and movies all over town. Rapid City will become Galt’s Gulch for one glorious week, and the town leaders and business people are anxiously rolling out the red carpet for us.
Many conferences have gone virtual this year, and that’s fine. We’ve put on a few outstanding virtual events ourselves, including the Anthem Film Festival. But FreedomFest is more than just the content.
Like South Dakota itself, FreedomFest is an experience.
It’s browsing the exhibit hall, talking to authors and getting their autographs, running into old friends, meeting our film directors, stopping at a booth for a free candy and staying for a conversation.
It’s being in the front row when Glenn Beck starts complaining about his chair and ends up cracking jokes with Penn Jillette from the edge of the stage—right in front of you.
It’s talking to people at the cocktail receptions and social events.
It’s sharing your voice at the microphone during Q&A at the end of a session.
It’s watching panelists interact passionately on stage, in the moment, in their face, which can never happen in front of a cold blank computer screen.
It’s greeting old friends and going out to dinner or meeting for breakfast or just hanging out in the exhibit hall between sessions.
It’s agonizing over which session to attend when three of them are calling to you because all of them are your favorite speakers.
It’s dancing at the closing banquet and hugging one another goodbye at the end of the night.
And this year, it will also be traveling together to visit some of the most beautiful and iconic spots in America.
FreedomFest isn’t just a content producer. It’s an experience. We can’t wait to see you in South Dakota July 21-24 as we share the experience of FreedomFest together again.
Jo Ann Skousen is co-producer of FreedomFest and the founding director of the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival, which will be celebrating its tenth anniversary at the historic Elks Theater in Rapid City, South Dakota July 21–24, 2021. Join us for the best –and most important–FreedomFest ever as we revisit what it means to be “healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
For information and tickets visit www.freedomfest.com.