Ben Akers: My inspiring weekend in Margaret River at the Emergence Creative Festival

Emergence_pic1.jpgBen Akers, Creative Director of Republic of Everyone in Sydney, was one of the top-class speakers at the Emergence Creative Festival held in Margaret River over three days late last week. Akers (pictured left at the bottom of the human pyramid) was highly impressed with the experience of this two year old Festival that is fast gaining momentum.

What did you do this weekend?

I bet I had a better one than you. Sorry but I did. I'm not meaning to be smug, but I got to go to the Margaret River and hang out with some of the most interesting and inspiring people I've ever met.

Emergence year 2 happened and I was there. PJ Bloom, Jonathan Kneebone, Mark Herbert, Evan Bregman, Eric Phu, Richard Bullock, Al Taylor, Christian Horgan, Carolyn Miller, Nicole Velik, Glenn Bartlett and Christiaan Van Vuuren are just a few of the other people that can claim this.
Some of the world's finest creative do-ers gathered to chat and pass of their experience at this unique creative festival.  Music, art, advertising, film, design, digital, literature and even food - anything in the creative entrepreneur space was embraced in these 3 days. And as it unfolded I discovered we all had something in common (apart from our appreciation of Margaret River wine and the beautiful coastline) we were all talking about "how we need to be brave to make things happen." -  How if you want to be innovative in the creative world you find a way.

I didn't know what to expect when I sat down and wrote my presentation a few weeks ago. My half hour on stage was entitled "You can't do that" - and told stories about how I dealt with doubters and dug in to make the work that I've created - but this seemed to be the theme of this years Emergence.

Emergence_Pic2.jpgMark Herbert (on left, with Akers) talked of fitting his entire cast and crew in a mini bus for the filming of Dead Man's Shoes - so he could be nimble enough to shoot the type of film he wanted to create.

While Christiaan Van Vuuren talked about his ballsy self taught style, that has taken him from a hospital bed to on of the most recognisable faces in Australian comedy and mastering the interweb thingy.  

We had Scott "Jimmy Niggles" Maggs introducing the Million $ beard and Jonathan Kneebone even tried to Save the world in 60 minutes.  Even our dining experiences had creative entrepreneur flavour with Fervor - a pop up foraging restaurant next to the beach.  

Hannah Silverton from The Loop and Andy Lamb from Atomic Sky topped and tailed the event for me. Where we talked to local people and tired to inspire them to have brave entrepreneurial ideas with a pitching workshop on the Wednesday and by the Friday they were able to pitch to us, in a Dragons Den style forum - where Sarah Turnbull picked up backing for an amazing idea for a new range of Coffee shops. Watch out for "Nancy's."

And that was the thing about Emergence. It took on a life of it's own. Anything seemed possible from this little town in South West of Australia. Positive ideas, positive people, nurturing talent, makers of the good and great. I felt privileged to be part of it. And as PJ Bloom told me, he was at SXSW when it was just a few bands playing in a hotel foyer - now they have 16,000 bands performing all over Austin as well as the entire world of tech decending......

I was at Emergence Year 2 when real people could mix with the cream of the creative world and there was no queue to get in.

Thank you Emergence.


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