Tech festival Pause Fest cancelled indefinitely due to lack of Victorian govt support

Melbourne tech event Pause Fest has been cancelled indefinitely, according to a message from its founder and director, George Hedon.

After 11 years, the event was forced to close its doors due to a lack of support from the Victorian government.

In a message to the events community and followers, Hedon said that despite now being the best time to innovate, it is also the worst time to organise a tech festival in the state.

“It’s one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make. Serving the Australian tech community has been a deep passion, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else in the world,” he said.

“Pause Fest was always a moment in time when we got together; a place where we shared our ideas, projects and expertise. People, passion, and purpose was our constant.

“Our mission was to catalyse the tech industry and bring diverse intelligence together to fuel the next generation forward. And, over the years, we have created one big family of supporters and gained strong international recognition.”

Hedon, who lists his job title as “enabler of awesome”, listed his most memorable Pause Fest moments, including moving the event to Federation Square in 2012, implanting microchip tickets into the hands of 10 attendees to give them VIP access, getting the ball rolling on a Sydney-Melbourne route by introducing chairman of Hyperloop to the Victorian government, and helping early-stage startups launch themselves successfully into the Victorian market.

“Running Pause Fest has felt like launching a startup each year from scratch and exiting at the end. The bigger the festival got, the harder it has been to grow and move forward,” Hedon said

“However, once you scale a festival to a certain size, you need to have strategic partnerships with the government and corporate worlds to go on – all of whom are committed to the same vision and willing to provide long-term support.

“This commitment, unfortunately, is something I have not been able to get in this state, no matter how hard I try. I know that passion and creativity can change the world, and I believe I’ve proven my point.”

The Pause Awards and Originals will continue in the festival’s place.