15. June 2012–
You could call it a Woodstock for tech experts - Campus Party Europe (21-26 August), billed as the world's largest global tech festival, is set to bring 10,000 tech and startup enthusiasts together this summer for workshops, speakers, DJs and 24/7 creative collaboration at Berlin's iconic Tempelhof airport.
It's the first time Campus Party will take place in a German-speaking country, after over a decade of activity in countries including Spain, Mexico and Brazil (pictured). That said, all the sessions planned so far for Berlin will be in English. Confirmed speakers include "father of the internet" Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Israeli tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi, tech author Don Tapscott and Brazilian author Paulo Coelho (who once ranked just behind Justin Bieber in klout score, according to Forbes).
The European Commission, along with festival main sponsor Telefonica O2 and over 100 universities and other partners, is supporting the event and will use ideas generated in the Campus Party Big Think (taking place now) in its European Digital Agenda.
The Big Think - how to win your spot at the party
Part of the vision behind the festival is to make the most of young tech experts' unique potential to provide solutions to social and economic problems. The Big Think is a Twitter-based competition to find the best of such ideas, with the top 5,000 or so (as judged by Campus Party's partner universities) winning free transport, accommodation and entry to the August event.
There are five categories for entry: aging well, youth unemployment, internet rights, health and entrepreneurship. If your idea is too complex to be explained in 140 characters, feel free to link to a blog post or video. The European Commission will keep a close eye on recurring ideas and use them in its Digital Agenda.
Flying robots and self-driving cars
Campus Party Europe is about all things science, tech and web, including robotics, biotech and astronomy. While the program for the event is still largely under wraps, we hear there'll be a flying robot competition, music and gaming workshops, self-driving cars, a three-day entrepreneurship workshop with the possibility of seed funding, and a range of experts to advise on the execution of ideas.
Spontaneous and ad hoc events organised by attendees are encouraged. "We want the 'campuseros' to have the power," Campus Party's US press spokesperson Jason Sinclair explains. "They're the real protagonists of the event."
Most Campus Party attendees are expected to live on the site for the week. The organisers will provide wifi, tents, showers, changing rooms, restrooms and an all-hours food court. For more info, check out the Campus Party website.