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Pause Fest to be cancelled after 11 years, says founder

Pause Fest’s founder George Hedon has taken to LinkedIn to announce that the digital startup and innovation conference has been cancelled.

The cancellation does not affect the Pause Awards or Original, which are going to continue.

Pause Fest’s logo

Mumbrella understands that Hedon is going to take a long break post-cancellation, and will try to maximise the assets, sell the brand or move it to another city.

In a LinkedIn post, Hedon stated that: “I gave my 300% to it, but in the last couple of years, since we have been pushed out of Fed Square, I’ve taken a huge leap of faith by thinking it will get better. We worked only to make the festival programme better and bigger each year – not our team or the bottom line. In 2020 for our 10th Anniversary, we moved to Shed14 which was consequently announced not safe for access. We had to move last minute to deliver Pause Fest at the MCEC, which is a good venue, but greatly impacted our profits.”

Hedon continued: “When COVID hit, I knew we had to adapt and we gave online a go, by delivering the ‘MTV for innovation’ style of programming experience. I invented an entirely new programming style, based on our research to fulfill the big issues with virtual events in value creation for sponsors and attendee experience.

“Pause Fest 2020 delivered a world-class event over two weeks, but to break even, we had to sell thousands of reduced price tickets to Zoom fatigued worldwide audiences.

“I’ve been sitting on this for a very long time now and there isn’t an easy way around it. For the last six months, I’ve been navigating through many things, including my personal health, burnout and lockdowns.”

Hedon also stated that: “I have sent open letters to the Prime Minister and the Victorian Premier earlier this year, and have yet to hear back.”

On the cancellation, Canva co-founder and chief product officer Cameron Adams said: “Events like Pause Fest have played a formative role in my development over the years — helping to inspire and connect me with other passionate technologists and entrepreneurs in a way that no other forum could. Before I’d even thought of starting a business, it’s community gatherings like these that allowed me to explore new ideas, build up my confidence, and find a tribe of people who collectively shape each others’ experience and innovative ideas. I’m fortunate enough to have presented at Pause Fest on a number of occasions and have always been impressed by the creativity and ingenuity on display every year.”

In August 2020, Icon Agency was appointed to Pause Fest’s PR account.

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