Technology festival heads to city

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Part of the Olympic Park will play host to a top technology festival next year Part of the Olympic Park will play host to a top technology festival next year

A major technology festival, described as "truly the Greatest Show and Tell on Earth", is heading across the Atlantic to London's Olympic Park.

The Maker Faire - which has been a magnet for technology fans since its launch in 2006 - will head out of the United States for the first time in summer 2015.

Billed as a gathering of makers and aspiring makers, it brings together tech enthusiasts, so-called crafters, educators, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students and commercial exhibitors to show what they have made, and to share what they have learned.

Its home is usually the Bay Area of San Francisco and New York but it will shift to a new site at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, east London - called Here East - which is aimed at focusing on creative and digital businesses.

Here East chief executive Gavin Poole hopes the site may one day fulfil its claim to be "London's home for making".

On the back of pledges to regenerate the inner city region which hosted the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, London mayor Boris Johnson claimed the international event will help in "propelling forward our vision to cultivate a hotbed of tech talent on the site, creating thousands of jobs".

The Olympic Park is due to open to the public on April 5 this year, and the London Legacy Development Corporation chief executive Dennis Hone hopes the Maker Faire event will mark "another step towards creating a vibrant destination for local people and visitors that will be a focal point for world class arts and events, sports and leisure".

There are currently two annual flagship Maker Faires in the Bay Area and New York, as well as nearly 100 mini Maker Faires around the globe. More than 530,000 people visited a faire in 2013, the organisers say.

Dale Dougherty, president and chief executive of Maker Media, claims that its growing popularity springs from the way it can act as a global platform to connect makers, foster the growth of start-ups while inspiring innovation.

He said: "By partnering with Here East, we're continuing the momentum we've experienced around the world and tapping into an incredible community of makers focused on creating, building and making their future.

"Maker Faire is truly the Greatest Show and Tell on Earth, and we are proud to announce Maker Faire London as our newest flagship event."

In recent years companies such as Sugru, Technology Will Save Us, Makie and BERG have seen east London as an area to try to tap in to and deliver creative products .

Mr Poole said: "Maker Faire has brought together and spurred a vast movement of makers around the globe, while east London is leading the way in technological and product innovation. I very much look forward to welcoming Maker Faire to London, and to building on the incredible reception we have had for our plans at South by Southwest in Austin."

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