Offline Festival was the first ever festival focused on building community and sharing knowledge about community business was a roaring success.
The Hounslow Hall field in Milton Keynes provided a unique balance between conference-style workshops and talks, balanced with a well-being approach to business and community. This unique unconference in the countryside was thought up and organised by Project Dirt with the collaborative efforts of Power to Change and The Eden Project Communities, and took place over the weekend of 15-17 September.
The festival setting stripped away the staged atmosphere of typical networking events; stuffy conference halls were traded for an open field with colourful marquees and campfires.
The intimate festival gathered over 350 people from committed community projects, social enterprises, and organisations investing in their local community to discuss the needs, gaps and opportunities in working together to invest in community. Networking conversations with peers and leaders in the field happened organically, over a roasting marshmallow over the fire or after a bustling ceilidh, unlike other standard networking events. People sparked new connections to grow their plans, to inspire new projects and to ignite new ideas.
The traders who contributed to the festival were all community businesses and social enterprises who are live examples of successful community-minded businesses. Branch Out MK’s floral displays added a splash of wilderness and wonder.
The organisers, Project Dirt, are keen to invite local Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire community minded projects and organisations to get involved in next year’s event. If you’re interested in curating a space, holding a workshop, trading, volunteering or have other ideas they’d love to hear them.
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