It’s the biggest, coolest geek festival on the calendar, but it’s no Silicon Valley import: Campus Party is the legendary meetup for all things digital that first kicked off in Spain more than a decade ago. And this year, for the first time, it’s coming to Berlin.
Forget Woodstock, forget Glastonbury; Campus Party is festival 2.0. For 15 years, the tech carnival, run by Futura Networks and the E3 Future non-profit organization, has been bringing together coders, gamers, scientists and hackers from all walks of life for a week-long, non-stop celebration of all things digital.
More than 125,000 people have attended events across Spain and Latin America, with previous high-profile speakers including former US Vice-President and green campaigner Al Gore, scientist and mathematician Stephen Hawking and British academic Sir Tim Berners-Lee, widely renowned as the father of the internet as we know it.
This year, though, it’s branching out. Telefónica has partnered with Futura Networks to bring Campus Party to the first European country outside of Spain. The European Edition will take place from 21-26 August this year in the massive space inside Berlin’s abandoned Tempelhof airport.
Over six days, over 800 hours of events, talks and competitions will run around the clock for the expected 10,000 “campuseros”. When they’re not coding away, grabbing a few hours’ sleep in their tents or learning from legends, attendees can while away the time playing games or even just kicking back and watching TV on one of the many, many beanbags provided.
The Campus Party creators follow a simple motto: “The internet is not a network of computers, it’s a network of people.”
But that still gives them plenty of scope to have all sorts fun. Alongside serious talks about everything from clean tech to the future of the open internet, previous Campus Parties have played host to astronomy competitions and even robot football matches. Then there’s the LAN party, where thousands of gamers jump online for massive, multiplayer fights in their favourite games.
“We believe the power of ideas and innovative approaches to technology can transform Europe’s social and economic future for the better,” says José María Álvarez-Pallete, CEO of Telefónica Europe. “One goal of Campus Party in Berlin is to rewrite the source code – or web DNA – for Europe and reinstate the region as a global leader in technology.”
How to take part
If you want to go to this year’s Campus Party, tickets are now available to buy from http://www.campus-party.eu/2012/index.html. Or you can secure yourself a free place by taking part in an initiative called TheBigThink. Simply pitch your ideas on how we can ‘re-type Europe’s source code’. The best 5000 will be invited to attend Campus Party Berlin for free, including transport, tickets and accommodation. Here’s how to take part in TheBigThink: http://www.campus-party.eu/2012/invitations-program.html
Five of the best
To whet your appetite, we’ve rounded up four of the very best talks from previous Campus Parties. Enjoy.
Al Gore and Sir Tim Berners-Lee talk at Campus Party 2011 in Brazil:
Professor Stephen Hawking opens Campus Party 2006:
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak talks on stage at Campus Party 2011:
Linux chief John Hall talks about open source at Campus Party 2008:
Legendary computer expert John Draper on the history of computing at Campus Party 2011: