– By June Coates
Musicians, filmmakers and game developers depend heavily on technology to bring their creations to life, and Seagate products play a vital role in storing, securing and sharing their digital content. That’s why Derry/Londonderry’s first CultureTECH digital-media festival was such a good fit for Seagate.
Seagate is one of the largest employers in Derry, where the company’s Springtown wafer fab, employs more than 1,300 in the development and production of read-write heads.
Last month’s CultureTECH festival, which was attended by more than 10,000 people, celebrated digital creativity in all its forms. It included keynote speakers, workshops, games, digital art, theater and live music throughout the city.
The festival’s strong tech component was a natural fit for Seagate’s support, says Brian Burns, VP of Seagate’s Springtown operations. Burns noted that since Seagate’s wafer fab opened here in 1993, the city has “morphed into a dynamic center of culture and creativity.”
“Our technology underpins all of these creative industries, and getting behind this festival gave us the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that to the community,” said Burns.
Seagate sponsored the festival’s live music lineup, which enjoyed a high profile over the four-day event, culminating in the Seagate CultureTECH Picnic—an outdoor concert featuring a number of artists, headlined by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Duke Special. Despite patchy weather, thousands turned out to enjoy the concert and other family-friendly entertainment, including a Digital Funfair and classic arcade games.
And a dozen volunteers from Seagate won thanks and praise from the festival team for their part in helping organize events throughout the program.
Jacqueline McLaughlin, a configuration technician at Springtown who volunteered for meet and greet duties at the festival, said her involvement gave her a renewed sense of pride in her home town.
“I’ve lived in Derry all my life and working on CultureTECH made me realize how much I take it for granted,” McLaughlin said. “It was lovely to see so many people, many of them from overseas, visit our city and speak so highly of it. I’ve made a pledge to myself to get out there and rediscover it for myself and my family.”
Festival organizer Mark Nagurski said he was delighted to have so many Seagate employees take part in the event.
“The success of the whole festival is due in no small part to the support of Seagate,” Nagurski said. “The company’s involvement and support has helped to launch a major new event, not just for the city but for the whole island.”
Around 1,000 delegates attended the industry conference sessions to hear from over 90 speakers from across film, TV, music, gaming and technology. Highlights included: Sir Nichola Kenyon from Europe’s largest multi-arts venue, Barbican; Anita Stokes from Lucasfilm; and music supervisors representing global brands like Adidas and Reebok and popular TV shows such as “The Inbetweeners.”