It started off six years ago with a few hundred attendees discussing ideas on creativity, technology and business. When Melbourne’s Pause Fest opens its doors this year, the expected crowd will be in excess of 12,000 people who have come from every state around Australia, as well as overseas.
“Pause’s growth has been organic,” says founder George Hedon. “It has been determined by a sense of exploration. Instead of asking ‘what if’, we ask ‘why not’. By consistently listening to our audiences, learning from experience and [adding to that] a healthy dose of f**k yeah, Pause is reflecting and inventing tech culture all at once.”
The reason that a conference like Pause Fest is so important is because digital disruption is changing the way consumers behave and businesses operate. So that this idea is at the centre of attention for attendees, the conference has been designed around the three pillars of startup companies in 2016: Creative, Tech and Business.
In designing this year’s conference, Hedon has also taken into account that one of the gripes attendees have with conferences is that they don’t get to see everything they wanted to. With this in mind, the festival now runs over seven days, with a three-day conference dedicated to the three pillars so that festival-goers get the most out of their experience.
Make ideas happen: Creativity is an experience that needs to live beyond a brief. At the intersection of creative and technology, creatives are redefining the process and how ideas become tangible.
Develop successful products: Without creativity or business, technology is for the sake of technology. But with every exciting step forward, there are new consequences, risks and endless opportunities.
Master disruption: Moments of change can define a business. Digital disruption is both a threat and an opportunity and innovation is no longer optional. But how can the old and new exist in harmony?
“For the sixth and biggest Pause Fest yet, the conference has been re-engineered,” says Hedon. “Each topic has a full day dedicated to immersing you in everything it has to offer.”
This new streamlined experience means that there will be no queues or program clashes. Each day, the keynote speakers and panel discussions have been curated to ensure everyone gets a chance to participate and ask questions, while the night events have been designed so that attendees get the most out of their networking.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the festival, however, is its focus on sensory experiences. Hedon predicts that this is what is going to be popular in 2016.
“We have partnered with some super special people that are going to help us gamify the festival for attendees and take Pause to the next level,” he says. “Every ticket comes with an Escape Room pass that will see people randomly placed in a themed room with five strangers solving a mystery which involves getting out of the room in 45 minutes. This is a great way to potentially meet a founder, creative or [enterprise level business person].”
Pause Festival will be a space where people can share their knowledge, engage with others across various industries and expertise, discuss new ideas and, most importantly, experiment. It is not just an environment for collaboration, but ‘creative collisions’ and where Australian tech culture can begin to shine.
Pause Fest 2016 will take place at Federation Square on the 8th – 14th of February 2016. Tickets can be purchased here.