The yearly Sem(antics)Fest is intended to promote discussion and collaboration among all those in the Stanford community interested in the semantics and pragmatics of natural language, as well as their interface with other modules of grammar. It includes contributions from members of the Department of Linguistics with interests in semantics and pragmatics, as well as from members of the Stanford University community who share these interests.
The first SemFest was organized in 2000 by David Beaver and Stefan Kaufmann as part of the activities of a Stanford Humanities Center Graduate Research Workshop, The Construction of Meaning. A volume of the same name collecting papers from the first SemFest was published by CSLI in 2002.
The 10th and 20th anniversary SemFests were two-day events which included many alumni of previous SemFests.