Ideas Fest initial list of speakers features range of backgrounds |

Ideas Fest initial list of speakers features range of backgrounds

Staff report

Republicans to Democrats, musicians to pro athletes, former heads of state to awe-inspiring outdoorsmen, the first list of speakers for this summer’s Aspen Ideas Festival was announced this week and has a variety of speakers as colorful as the event’s logos.

The 15th annual event is June 23 to 29, with the Health forum from June 20 to 23 at the Aspen Meadows campus.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was in President Donald Trump’s camp during the election and often has criticized marijuana legalization in Colorado, will be in the lineup of speakers with political careers, which includes Karl Rove, former senior advisor to George W. Bush and former president of Mexico Vicente Fox.

Musicians Common, well known for his Grammy-winning raps, and Jon Batiste, the band director for the “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and who played at 2017 JAS June Experience, will be in town. Batiste has been a regular at the festival the past few years.

Kevin Love, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers and was a first-round pick in 2008, and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, who led the Atlanta Falcons to Super Bowl LI and became the first $30 million a year quarterback, are scheduled to speak. As well, free climber Alex Honnold, who was the focus of the movie “Free Solo,” will be on hand.

Industry leaders at the conference include Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, United CEO Oscar Munoz, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and Ed Stack, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Also former Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson, who is now teaching at Tulane University, will return to Aspen.

Speakers will continue to be added in the coming weeks. For more information on the festival and the speaker lineup so far, go to