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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, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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