The inaugural year of an annual event is always a tricky one.
Will it attract a crowd? How will it differentiate itself from comparable events? Will attendees see value for their time?
These questions flooded my brain on route to Belfast last week for the first ever Festival of Icons. I had a more than usual interest in this one since Startacus was well acquainted with the organisers, had given away free tickets, and helped to spread news about the event far and wide.
I am delighted to say that the Festival of Icons met and exceeded all of my expectations.
It was billed as four-day festival of inspiration and action across Tech, Music and Screen.
I must confess that I was at the beginning a tad sceptical about whether taking such a non-specific direction with the event would stand in their favour… would inspiration be enough to sustain a 4 day event?
Yes it would:
Rather than going into exquisite detail about the various talks and demonstrations that took place (excellent as they were), I think it would be much more prudent to simply explain the value of attending, as I experienced it.
These things are not mere lip service to the great and good of the entrepreneurial space, but a vital catalyst for pushing the next generation of doers, thinkers, and achievers ever further towards much greater success.
No one will doubt the legitimacy of that heartfelt ambition.
Such value is quite literally immeasurable, in that it cannot be quantified in the usual method of statistics, charts, and graphs. It is something far more human than that.
It is the reassurance provided by others who have emerged from the mess of growing a business with something to show for it.
It is the determination in the face of mounting failure.
It is the will to say yes, when all around you are saying no.
It is in this regard that I suggest the Festival of Icons elevated itself above comparable events on the circuit. There was of course the usual trappings of startup / tech conferences that you would expect; exhibiting startups, corporate sponsors, and financial institutions, but the transfer of services seemed to take a complimentary role to the more prominent transfer of knowledge, stories, and experience.
A welcome change in my book!
If you didn’t attend this year’s Festival of Icons, make sure you attend the next, and hope they manage to retain the particular charm which made it one of my favorite business / tech / startup events of the year.
Written by Eoin O’Hara - Chief of Content at Startacus HQ