Pause Fest founder George Hedon on the 2019 event

Across the last decade, Pause Fest has built a reputation as one of the creative, business, and tech industry’s biggest events. And from the looks of their 2019 event – including world-class speakers, incredible programming sessions, and endless networking opportunities – they have well and truly earned it.

See available tickets

We sat down with Pause Fest’s founder George Hedon to take a look inside the event, and hear first hand just what we can look forward to. 
Tell us about Pause Fest.

Pause Fest is the world’s leading creativity-infused business event. It’s the place where corporate Australia learns how to be more innovative, and startups learn how to commercialise ideas and scale up.

We believe that magic happens when you put people with different mindsets and skill sets together in a room and that’s exactly what Pause Fest does across the creative, tech and business industries.

The only reason why we were successful is because we built a very solid community base in the beginning, and kept it at the heart of what we do and why we do the event.  At the end of the day, we just want to make sure Australia is competitive in the global markets.

What is different about Pause Fest 2019?

The 2019 event feels like a completely new festival.  We’ve brought in a lot of changes primarily around how our community interacts at the event and our business strategy.

Based on feedback, we’ve mapped the new customer journeys that led us to the conclusion that we only need to offer three-day tickets to next year’s event. Unlike any other year where we had single day tickets, in 2019 you will have to commit to Pause and enjoy the quality engagement with the network of people that will transform you and your business. The life and business is not about in-between states, transactional or transitional – well they aren’t meant to be – we believe that a ticket to Pause will bring you high ROI and quality engagement.

What was the idea behind starting up Pause Fest nine years ago?

The idea was and still is very simple – Pause is a moment in time when we come together to collaborate and build a better future.


What has been the most surprising tech change you’ve witnessed in the last decade? 

There have been so many changes on so many levels that it’s hard to pick one. I can’t imagine life without technology now – sometimes I’m over it, but generally it’s been so helpful. I’d say the way we communicate with each other has made a huge impact on our lives. There are so many ways you can talk to people, friends and family now.

What do you hope attendees will take away from Pause Fest?

Pause is a monster. We have seven stages over three days and 200 top-notch speakers – 40 of which are international – panels, workshops, VIP events, an exclusive retreat, summer after parties. There’s a lot to absorb.

What we really want people to take away from Pause Fest is an opportunity to connect with some of the most amazing people in business, give themselves permission to dream big, sharpen their skillsets and do business.

What are you most looking forward to at Pause Fest 2019? 

Pause Fest 2019 will have the next level of speakers, and almost half of all keynotes will be filled with exec-level internationals. We had such a strong interest from international speakers this year, it’s going to be a game changer for all attendees.

We’ve consolidated programming by three ticket types and I’m really interested to see how it all works. We’ve wanted to do this for many years but now it’s finally out. This year we initiated Pause Incubator, delivered Pause Awards, we’re bringing back the Pause Retreat, and I’m very excited to launch our InnerCircle executive rewards for our biggest spenders – we want to reward them with special VIP events at the festival and throughout the year. It feels like a new start in an exciting new direction.

Who are some of the must-see speakers we should check out?

You will most definitely develop FOMO next year. You may be interested to hear about ‘The power of crazy’ from Stephen Gates, Head of Design Transformation at InVision US. Or you might be more inclined to get ‘Tips for effectively scaling great teams’ from Dominic Price, Work Futurist of R&D at Atlassian. For those that find their everyday workload too intense, you maybe interested in ‘Harnessing the life-changing power of giving yourself a break’ from Rachael O’Meara, Sales Executive and Author of Pause from Google US. 

Why is it so important for Pause Fest to be accessible to everyone – from the interns all the way to the people running the company?

For the first three years, we were a free festival. As we grew over the years, trying to become more sustainable, the ticket prices had to increase and our attendee demographics changed with that.

With the introduction of the Creator ticket this year – that is aimed at the founder, artist, and the student – we think it will bring the balance to our community and open new opportunities. At the end of the day, ideas come from a lot of different places, the more diverse we are, the more innovative the ideas become.

With Pause Fest almost around for a decade, where do you see tech headed in the next ten years?

I’m not sure what to predict here, the tech is changing so rapidly and exponentially that whatever you think is big today may not be in a few years. Maybe it’s safe to say that we’ll transition into web 3.0 powered by blockchain. I’d like to see that.

I’d like to end with our 2019 manifesto on the ‘Intimate Future’ theme, written by the super talented Jaime Sugiyama from Toronto.

At what point do our bodies begin and end?

How do we define our most intimate borders?

Do they end with our skin? With our clothes?

With our various extensions of ourselves?

With our presences online?

Where is the line between evolution and desecration?

And do these borders keep us apart

Or bring us closer together than ever before?

Pause Fest 2019 will take over Federation Square, Melbourne from Wednesday 6 February until Friday 8 February 2019. Tickets are available through the festival’s website.