PICNIC Festival 2011 — Urban Futures

In its sixth year, PICNIC reiterated its commitment to creativity and technology – in terms of content, involvement of the PICNIC community and its international reach. This event for professionals is internationally known for its innovative festival approach, combining cutting edge content with new, interactive program formats and a surprising and exciting visitors experience.

PICNIC ’11 explored the impact of global urbanization on our cities, societies and our lives and the way creative and smart technologies can play a role. The challenges following from mega urban environments in areas like demographic shifts, (natural) resources, infrastructure, health and governance are getting more and more pressing. PICNIC brought creative thinkers, developers, designers and entrepreneurs together to collaborate on possible solutions.

What made PICNIC ‘11 really different compared to the preceding editions or any event out there was the theme as the starting point for everything. An actual “PICNIC City” was build to prototype creative, urban applications and concepts and the PICNIC community helped us build this temporary environment.

The “PICNIC City” arose at a new location for PICNIC Festival: the NDSM Wharf on the north side of the river IJ in Amsterdam. Here is just a small selection of figures representing what went into planning and promoting PICNIC Festival, building the PICNIC City, and attendees and activities during the event.

PICNIC Festival 2011 visitors

  • 5000+ visitors over 3 days
  • 250+ journalists & bloggers
  • Attendees from 33 counties, including visitors from across Europe, the UK and North America, plus representatives from as far as Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Peru and South Africa
  • Visitors meet an average of 9 new contacts, plus 11 existing contacts during the festival

The Festival program

  • 170+ speakers
  • 140+ sessions (Lectures, Workshops, Labs & more)
  • 85 growing creative businesses at the Marketplace
  • 1 theme: Urban Futures; 5 sub-themes: Infrastructure, Sustainability, Society, Design and Media

Prize money from international competitions

  • Total of € 700,000 awarded by Postcode Lottery Green Challenge
  • Total of € 225,000 awarded by Vodafone Mobile Clicks

Formal sponsors & partners

  • 10 sponsors (including National Postcode Lottery, Vodafone, Waag Society, BMW i, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, Logica, Microsoft, RTL, SII and UPC)
  • 8 new PICNIC Business Club members: Corio, Edelman, Ernst & Young, Hogeschool van Amsterdam’s Media, Creation & Innovation deparment, Inholland, LinkedIn, Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, and Sanoma Media
  • 70 total media, content, service and event partners

Promoting the event

  • 1 new website, created by Yoomee
  • 60 unique posters designed by international artists and agencies for the PICNIC Poster Project
  • 75,000 emails sent to partners, network and contacts

Building the PICNIC City

  • 7 days to construct (started 7 September)
  • 33 transports from BAM to get the materials to the NDSM
  • A team of 77 to oversee the construction (15 members of the PICNIC team, 7 experts from BAM, and a production crew of 55 from Livetime)
  • 750 meters of barrier tape used on site

During the event

  • 60 volunteers to help run the event
  • 3,860 packed PICNIC lunches (not to mention catered lunches, lunch meetings, and crew lunches!)
  • Less than 1 mm of rain predicted over the three days, but there will be 250 spare umbrellas at the venue, just in case
  • Finally, there were 48 scheduled ferry trips per day to transport attendees from Amsterdam Centraal Station to PICNIC Festival 2011!