It was six years ago that George Hedon founded Pause Fest, an annual festival based in Melbourne that celebrates creativity, technology, and entrepreneurship. Hedon saw an opportunity to bring together a new breed of thinkers and doers in the world’s most liveable city. The first event came at a time when the Australian startup scene was just beginning to really take off, and it has since attracted that particular niche of people that are driven by passion and purpose.
What drives Hedon to grow this event each year is the atmosphere and effect generated when you create a space where people from different industries can converge and share their skills and knowledge and have an opportunity to ‘pause’. This outlook has seen Pause Fest become the premier creative tech conference and festival in the Asia-Pacific region.
In fact, it is one of the many reasons that brands and startups choose to launch new products or new ventures at the conference. Companies like Canva, For The People, BSchool and Tractor School are all examples of companies that have used the platform to declare themselves open to the masses.
Zero Latency, the world’s first free-roam, multiplayer, virtual reality gaming experience was another company that made its debut at Pause Fest, in 2014. Being there helped the company make connections with investors; now, around 12 months later, they have landed a $1 million seed round led by Carthona Capital.
At this years festival, everyone with a full festival pass will be randomly called in to experience Zero Latency with up to six other people.
Pause Fest currently attracts around 12,000 attendees from all over Australia and internationally. Hedon believes that part of this success is due to the fact that the conference is always reinventing and re-engineering itself – exceeding the expectations of the average conference that people are used to, particularly in this space.
In talking to those involved in the event you begin to clearly see that it is not just the content that attracts the audience, volunteers and contributors – it is something much more. Caspian Kai Pantea has been contributing videography and photography to the event since 2011 and says that the life-long personal and business connections that he has made keep him going back for more each year.
“Being part of Pause Fest was an extremely valuable experience, building strong and important life-long connections,” says Pantea. “I have not only made these connections in Melbourne but within my industry of motion graphics and animation. Curating content for the event was an extremely enjoyable experience and it helped me to improve my own taste and inspire me to hone my [craft] further.”
A new, exciting part of the 2016 Pause Fest Conference will be the Partner and Public Program, a series of in-house and satellite events that sit within the festivals Business Track. From a Rapid Prototyping Hub being run by Melbourne-based tech company Envato to being able to experience something unique around the future of the automotive industry with Tesla, there will be something different for every Pause-goer to attend.
In addition to these side events and the main creativity, technology and business tracks, there will also be a startup-focused expo that will run across the Friday and Saturday.
“Exhibitors are able to present their ideas and plans for the future in front of the entire Pause community, speakers, special guests and major companies,” says Hedon. “This is a great opportunity for both startups and investors who, for two days, are able to connect, collaborate and talk all things ‘startup’.”
Pause Fest 2016 will take place at Federation Square on the 8th – 14th of February 2016. Tickets can be purchased here.