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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

Thursday, Dec. 18


Improve your English and knowledge of British culture during todays FORM lesson at the British Book Center. These free English lessons with a native speaker elaborate not only on grammar particulars but cultural topics as well. Todays event will discuss the BBC Two documentary Victorian Farm Christmas.



Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The citys Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during todays Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


TheZenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the clubs website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBAs and Capital Legal Services event Arctic Expedition this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



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