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Geek Picnic: Bringing Sci-Fi to Life in St. Petersburg

The popular festival returns, ready to impress with the latest technology being used in various cultural mediums.

Published: August 6, 2014 (Issue # 1823)



  • Geek Picnic has become a showcase for the latest in science and technology.
    Photo: Geek Picnic

  • Futuristic fashion is just one of this weekends many attractions.
    Photo: Geek Picnic

Geek Picnic, the countrys largest science and technology festival, is set to return to St. Petersburg this weekend on Yelagin Island on Aug. 9 and 10. Over two days, the newest ideas and inventions will be on display for visitors as companies present their new projects, while aspiring entrepreneurs and job seekers look for ways to break into their respective industries.

Now four years old, the festival has expanded from simply focusing on IT strategies to embracing art and pop culture as well. This years festival not only includes speakers talking about the latest innovations but also various master classes, a fashion show, gourmet food and a market for shoppers. Yet at heart, rather than trying to be too technical, the main idea is that this is, after all, a picnic. It is an opportunity for both tech-lovers and families to enjoy the warm summer days.

Nikolay Gorely, a co-founder of the picnic, is an obvious believer in the importance of technology and he is very aware of its ever-increasing popularity. In the 70s, people were waiting for days for Led Zeppelin tickets, he said. In the 21st century, in modern countries, people are waiting for one or two days to buy an iPhone. No one is waiting to buy tickets for a band.

It is a sentiment echoed on the events website in their manifesto. The release of a new gadget, an incredible discovery these are the things that we have regularly heard about from news reports, this is what the press writes about, it reads. These rock stars have become internet entrepreneurs and the word Geek, which has traditionally been synonymous with nerd, is becoming popular and fashionable.

This is a cultural phenomenon and the rise in popularity is something that the festival hopes to capitalize on. Geek Picnic is a festival for well-educated people looking for something new, to find a new way of life, new ideas, Gorely said. We are living with an old infrastructure and we want to live in a world where quadra-copters can bring us food or we can pay for something with the touch of a finger.

Geek Picnic, rather than just about what exists, is focused on the bigger ideas and how they can be achieved as well. Thats why there is such a diversity in lectures and opportunities for visitors. This years speakers include Jonathan LeBlanc, a developer evangelist for PayPal, whose main interests revolve around the development of open source technology in social applications, Sergey Ryazan, an astronaut who spent over 166 days in space, and Artemy Troitsky, the famed music critic, who will discuss the current era in music in Russia.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBAs newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is Handmade in Germany, an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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