Diary of an Emergence Festival Groupie, Day 1. By Lucy Belbin

| | 1 Comment
Diary of an Emergence Festival Groupie, Day 1. By Lucy Belbin

Lucy Belbin’s day 1 Emergence Festival dairy.


Today is finally the resurgence of Emergence! This is something that I’ve been looking forward to for months… in fact, five years. And I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to an Emergence Festival this much, like, ever!

Probably to do with the fact that I am now officially a Margs “Local” – according to my Perthian ad mates – but eventually, not to a “real local”, who gets given a “local” status once they’ve lived in the region for 10… maybe 20 years? Well, I guess this means I’m still on holiday and have been living it up since August ’22.

Through thebox’s collaboration with Emergence this year, I’ve taken on a side hustle role as a PodCast Producer. You may have even seen some of our promos for Creative Glue, The Emergence Specials. We’ve been lucky enough to chat with a number of old Keynote Speakers – what Mat Lewis has coined “The Emergence Aslumni” – all to get us even more amped about 2024. It has definitely done the job for me. And today and tomorrow, I now get to capture the essence of Emergence through this article and also the PodCast (details below).

Mostly, I’ve been looking forward to that feeling you get when you go back to your day job, after Emergence. The inspiration that comes from 2 days of Keynotes, working Colabs and fun nights out on the wines, hanging out with creative people, walking the streets of Margs. And of course, I was also super keen to catch up with old “ad” friends, who I no longer have the privilege of bumping into at the Subi on a Friday arvo.

Last night was launch night at Settlers. To be honest, at previous Emergences, I don’t think I ever made enough of an effort to talk with people from outside the Ad World – and that’s the whole beauty of Emergence, that I totally missed! Don’t be surprised to meet more film-makers, photographers, musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs than Ad People. Because… there were definitely less Ad People in the room last night than I’d ever noticed before.

A lot of new faces, some interesting convos and finally, some incredible music. Including Glenn Sarangapany (one of the boys from Panda Candy) who played with a local singer Mitch Baker (I’m not kidding that this guy has the voice of Chris Cornell)… and of course, local Dan White (who we heard from today at the Heart). There was even live poetry on stage! At one point (after a wine or two) I wondered if I’d ever have the guts to jump up on stage for a song. But then the talent on stage deterred me, quickly enough.

This morning, we were up bright and early (and surprisingly fresh for me) to check out the Female Entrepreneur Networking Breakfast down at the White Elephant in Gnarabup, where I heard about the accessibility of workshops throughout the state through ECU. Very cool news for entrepreneurs and local startups in the South West. And while I was Vox Popping for our PodCast down on the beach, simultaneously there was a whole crew of bushwalkers (who were conjured up by Rich Berney last night). The nature walk started at Boranup Forest at 6am. Some very keen people. But that’s what you get at Emergence and what makes it special – to make the space to enjoy the region and all it has to offer.

We soon arrived at the Margaret River Heart ready for the first day of the “anti-conference”. The day kicked off with a quick intro by founder & chair, Mat Lewis, and a different-kind-of Welcome to Country by Dr Wayne Webb, who invited his two nephews up on stage to also welcome us to Wadandi Boodja.

MC Josh Edge (in his totes-appropes-Emergence-Jesus-sandals) kicked off with some funnies. But his first and very important job, was to make sure “is everybody ok with swearing?? ”

Josh also took it upon himself to challenge us all. So we now have a task for the next couple of days.

“Let’s all take away one thing from Emergence. What is it we’ve heard or learnt that has changed the way we think about something?”

I know this isn’t exactly what Josh has in mind, but what I have realised today, is that my mind has ocially changed about this brand spanking new location of Emergence! I must admit that I was a little sad that the conference this year has moved from a picturesque winery like Vasse Felix to the Margaret River Heart. I mean… where’s the wine?

But the good news is, there is wine at the Heart.

And in even better news, the Heart, while very different to the wines-on-the-lawn chats I so much enjoyed in 2016, is actually really, really cool. It’s an awesome, massive and beautiful space with better spaces for Colabs and live music – but still feels like Margs. And with tiered seating so you can see it all, and most importantly, enjoy comfy cushioned seats without sore bums!

For those that missed out today (not to give you FOMO or anything) one of my favourite parts was during Josh’s intro. They played this beautiful music video of Wadandi Boodja which was created by Anton Blume. It was based on a concept that expresses the connection to country through photography using double exposure through film. While not on the ocial program, we were lucky enough to hear from Anton himself, who talked about the idea of ‘play’ and how this often gets forgotten in our daily work lives as creatives. For Anton, a little bit of ‘play’ a few years ago, has now turned into this incredible creative concept for a music video. So it makes you think… who might I meet, what spark of an idea could erupt today at Emergence that has real potential to change the future?

And this is the stuff of Emergence… it’s all the little bits and pieces that are waaaaay over and above the conference program, that really makes it what it is.

And the other stuff of Emergence, is who you’ll meet.

I’m not going to go through the full festival brochure to tell you who I heard from and who inspired me the most today, because a) that’s just boring – you can find it out yourself, and b) I honestly couldn’t tell you which was my favourite part, or who or what inspired me most.

What I can offer, are the key things that I’ve learned.

One. You won’t be replaced by AI… but you might be replaced by someone using AI one day, but we just need to think of AI / Tech as a tool – which is just like a paintbrush and an extension of an artist.

Two. WA has a huge opportunity. We are closer to Asia than we are to Sydney, yet so many of us still look to the East Coast when it comes to collaboration. We heard from some kick-ass film-makers and creatives from Indo and Vietnam and there are soooo many opportunities and ways that we can tap into the Asia Pacific industry. Especially if you’re into Action films… do it in Indonesia!

When it comes to creativity, it’s all about collaboration, never competition. We are working together, not against one another. This is again, one of those recurring things that you’re reminded of at each and every Emergence Festival.

Finally, I learnt today that I wish I could split myself into three! I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of all three Colabs today (since we’re covering things for our PodCast), but feel like I left with my insides kicking and screaming “more more more” because I wish that I could have stayed for every one of those workshops.

Next stop, now I’m off to a drumming workshop at the Margaret River River Mouth… and then, being an extra for a Sand Art Activation Drone Video.

More on this tomorrow though, or if you want to hear more about it – listen here , so watch this space!

Spotify: Listen here
Apple Podcasts: Tune in here

Also, watch out for next week’s comprehensive festival recap, with insights and highlights from attendees, speakers, and organisers, capturing the full spirit and excitement of Emergence 2024.

Creative Glue is a collaborative effort, produced by thebox and featuring signature sting by Panda Candy, showcasing the partnership at the heart of Emergence Creative Festival 2024.