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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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