Science Tent at Splendour

Our call out for scientists to join Future Crunch in bringing science programming to the popular music festival Splendour in the Grass has yielded fantastic results. Around 50 researchers will head to Byron Bay for three days from 21 July to be part of the festival’s first Science Tent, with over 35,000 audiences members expected each day.

The crowd’s response to the legendary Dr Karl’s appearance at Splendour Forum last year inspired Splendour Forum and Comedy Club Manager Fay Burstin to increase the festival’s science engagement offering by creating a dedicated space that would combine amazing talks and workshops with hands-on experiences.

“Exploring cutting edge ideas is what Splendour Forum is all about. The Science Tent takes this one step further by providing a new opportunity for festival-goers to talk to experts one-on-one in an informal and entertaining setting,” she said.

With music, hands-on demos, incredible visuals and an appealing ambience, the Science Tent is programmed by Future Crunch, whose founders Tane Hunter and Angus Hervey say that it’s a natural step for experiential festivals to offer alternative activities alongside the music.

“Music, cabaret, theatre and art are pervasive at music festivals, so why not science and technology? The Science Tent will connect people with science in new ways and create a dynamic, interactive, life-affirming experience that will entertain, challenge and amaze,” they say.

Curated in partnership with Inspiring Australia NSW, the Science Tent will feature a line up researchers from a range of disciplines who will be on hand all day every day to show how science influences our everyday life.

Audiences will be able to explore hot topics like sustainability, food security, microbiomes, neuro-imaging and even the neuroscience behind Trump Administration tactics. Other topics covered will include chemistry, sharks, drones, coral reefs, parasites, insects, frogs, solar energy, bacteria, science communication and biohacking.

Look out for

  • Dr Alice Williamson who’s talk Better Living Through Chemistry will explore how chemistry has improved our lives to a soundtrack
  • Bish Marzook who will take us on a journey through the wonderful world of viruses to show how they are intertwined with all aspects of life and evolution, including even our own DNA
  • Marine biologists Mariel Familial Lobez and Johan Gustafson who will talk aout ecological sharks and their sensory systems.

The Science Tent also provides an opportunity for the local science community to get involved, with participation from world renowned researchers at neighboring Southern Cross University, a founding member of the Northern Rivers Science Hub.

Look out for

  • Professor Peter Harrison who as well as being a coral sexpert, is also a world renowned whale researcher. He will present on how citizen scientists are saving whales with their cameras.
  • Professor Isaac Santos who will take you on a science journey to unique places showing how his science of improving water quality has taken him from rural Brazil to the USA and eventually to SCU in Coffs Harbour, Australia.
  • Associate Professors Amanda Reichelt-Brushett and Grayson Cooke who will blind you with their own amazing brand of art and science presenting a workshop on how to generate chemical reactions, known scientifically as redox reactions, on printed images working with members of the audience to monitor the effects of the reactions closely.

The Science Tent and Inspiring Australia’s collaboration with Future Crunch and Spendour in the Grass provides a new and experimental model for us to partner with popular Australian festivals in order to reach new audiences and increase science and technology literacy in the broader community.

The full line up of researchers participating in the three-day Science Tent program will be announced on the Splendour in the Grass website on 4 July.

See how science is included in arts and music Festivals in Europe as reported in the Guardian and New Scientist