This years Creative Coast Festival was a triumph of the independent entrepreneural spirit. Intimate, disarmingly charming and a setting that breeds creativity – the event may be relatively small in scale, but it lacks in size it more than made up for with a packed program of captivating talks and engaging interaction with developers on show.
I reached out to event organizer – Johan Toresson to talk about CCF part deux.
Did the event meet your expectations?
Yes and no, I’d say. I’m super happy about what we managed to have in terms of content. We had an amazingly strong lineup of diverse talks, workshops, music and activities at the festival. I’d argue that few, if any, other festivals have managed to have both Nintendo, a psychosis simulation and skate in the same space without it feeling displaced or awkward. We also managed to have a panel on failure, something I personally feel is lacking as a topic at the conferences I attend.
If I was smart about this I’d also claim that the amount of attendees went as expected, but I set my goal to +800, and we didn’t quite reach that. We ended up somewhere along the lines of 500-600.
I believe we can still reach another 3-500 people without losing the intimacy between speakers and attendees.
What lessons learnt from year one played a part in defining this years iteration?
Mostly that came down to behind the scenes structuring, but one major difference from last year is that we decided against structuring our exhibitors in pre-defined boxes. Instead we gave them a lived in space to conquer and make their own, which I feel made the exhibition area more interesting – a bit more organic, chaotic and less booth, booth, booth, product, product, product.
Finally, what were your highlights from the event?
My highlights this year is a hard question to answer, but we had a group of creators who asked for a room instead of a space on the floor. They then proceeded to shut themselves in there for 3 days straight and just built and tinkered to create a surreal, pulsing visual experience where you were surrounded by an ambient soundscape that whispered about your position within and without society and yourself as a cell.
As for the talks, I did only catch the failure panel and 20 mins of Alex talk on self-reflexive game design, so it’d be unfair to measure this towards the other 20isch things I didn’t see.
You know that’s the dumbest part about organizing anything you want to attend yourself – you’re there but not participating.
Regardless though, having Nintendo give a talk, people from Valve attending and Chipzel playing in a town of less than 20000 people feels great. To bring in speakers from Australia, South Africa to Norway to the most beautiful game city in Sweden is obviously something I’m proud and happy about.
So in that sense I guess I can’t wait to not live up to my expectations next year!