Back in July 2009, a post appeared on this very blog heralding the first GeekFest Dubai. Well, just GeekFest, actually, because there was never a plan for anything other than, well, one GeekFest event.
My brother in law quickly slapped together a logo for me and on the 29th of that very month, Shelter Curator Saadia Zahid, Simone Sebastian (who had arranged the original coffee meeting between Saadi and I that launched the whole potty scheme) and I sat giggling in The Shelter waiting to see if anyone would turn up and, if they did, whether any of them could actually speak without having to text or Tweet. Over a hundred smart, highly voluble and delighted communicators pitched up and much offline socialising was done by that very online group of people.
It was something of a revelation for us. Dubai didn't have gigs like this - smart people giving free-flowing talks to smart audiences on topics ranging from Mosque 2.0 to the future of newspapers and trekking across Nepal, gamers playing alongside humans and not biting them, digital art displays and workshops. All sorts of things going on! We quickly carved out some guiding principles (Eventually to be enshrined in The GeekiFesto), including the fact the event would be UNorganised - the organising force was not to be a gatekeeper, owner or, indeed, force. GeekFest was to be a cry of yahoooo! from the community that made it happen, nobody was going to tell anybody what to do, where to go, what to say or when to do it.
GeekFest Dubai span off GeekFests in Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Sharjah, Damascus, Amman, Cairo and Beirut. I have to say, the last GeekFest Beirut featured fashion shows, rock gigs and all sorts and was a total blast!
And of course, GeekFests around the region gained the benefit of Naeema Zarif's stunning visual identities, those juxtaposed compositions that brought such wit and quirkiness to it all...
GeekFest Dubai ran relatively regularly every two months or so until 2012, when it sort of ran out of steam. Saadi had left The Shelter and the Shelter itself turned into New Premises. I had always said when it started to matter, I'd stop doing it and I found myself rather trying too hard to bring the event together. It wasn't about that.
I was tempted to let it die, but something as good and fun as GeekFest just won't expire like old yoghurt. GeekFest Jeddah is still alive and they're talking about GeekFest Cairo now. So perhaps it's time to pass on the baton - in future GeekFest Dubai will be UNorganised by the team at T-Break, the website for gadget lovers, gamers, goons and geeks - together with Leith Matthews, the Man Behind Make.
And so I am delighted to be able to tell you that GeekFest Dubai - The YouTube Edition - will take place once again at Make Business Hub in the Al Fattan Tower behind JBR on Thursday 28th March from 7pm onwards.
If you want more information, you can hassle @theregos on Twitter or follow @geekfestdubai for updates or look out for news and info at the GeekFest Dubai microsite - http://www.tbreak.com/geekfest which is now live, if not quite populated yet!
This, ladies and gentlemen, should be FUN!!!