Our trip to The Summerna… BEST OF GREAT AUSTRALIAN NERDS Festival!!!
by The Editor
We had the rare opportunity last weekend to make our way to the 26th edition of Canberra’s Best of Great Australian Nerds Festival at Exhibition Park in Canberra. Whether, politically, you find yourself in the ‘red’ corner or the ‘blue’ corner (or find yourself among one of the fringe groups that manage to attend this prestigious event), there was certainly something for everyone.
Many readers may be aware the BoGAN Festival has been criticised in the past for being somewhat discriminatory in its treatment of certain parts of the population. What would we find as we trawled our way through the venue on a scorching summer’s day?
Upon entry, it was clear a number of options were available. What would we visit first? The Megulars Judging Pavillion where willing attendees used elaborate speaker arrangements in order to see who could shout their ideas the loudest? Or perhaps the Dyno Cell Pavillion where the participants were placed on pulpits to see who could go from a standing start to flat out in the most powerful way. The options were boundless!
It was great to see the gravity of the event represented by the presence of a grand old Rolls Royce. Doubtless, this was the chosen transportation of the Governor General who may have spoken earlier. Such a shame we were not there in time to see her in full flight.
The attire – as you may expect – was somewhat formal. We felt somewhat under-dressed given we had prepared for the Festival by simply adorning cocktail dress for the day. Looking across the carefully arranged attendees it was clear we had got it slightly wrong, and therefore kept a low profile so as not to draw too much attention to our unfashionable faux pas.
What we did manage to catch was apparently the highlight of the day – a peculiar little event set in a smoke filled stadium. What was being discussed here? Were the ideas so controversial, so shocking, that there was a need for a dull roar to provide coverage to the controversies? We may never know – but as the smoke occasionally cleared it was clear the audience was pleased with the issues under consideration, as their exuberant applause was sustained until the smoke gathered once again.
We even had the opportunity to chat with some of the ushers, dressed in matching outfits and seemingly very eager to please participants by assisting with photo opportunities and cans of refreshing beverages – necessary no doubt due to the excessive vocal efforts of the audience members. Eventually though, we made our way through the crowd towards the exit. Clearly this was not a place for us – such lofty heights can only be achieved by a few.
All in all, the latest installment of the BoGAN Festival was indeed a surprise. While we may have felt we were unable to fully participate in the event for a number of cultural reasons, there seemed to be little animosity from the participants, while the overall feeling was one of general inclusiveness. Perhaps the feeling we didn’t quite fit in came more from within ourselves than from those who surrounded us. Regardless, there can be no doubt that after 26 solid years, the BoGAN Festival is here to stay.
Did you pop in to this year’s festival? Or perhaps had a conceptual interlude with an out-of-town participant.? We’d love to hear details of your engagements in the comments section below.