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Metro Newsroom

Louisville to be new home to ‘ideaFestival’ Festival draws national and international innovators

Thursday September 8, 2005

With the Louisville home of Thomas Edison as a backdrop, Mayor Jerry Abramson today said Louisville will welcome thousands of “big thinkers and innovators” at the 2006 International ideaFestival.
The mayor was joined by University of Louisville President James Ramsey, University of Kentucky President Lee Todd, Greater Louisville Inc President and CEO Joe Reagan, and Kris Kimel, president of Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, to announce that Louisville will be the new home for the festival beginning next year.
“This event positions our city and state as a place that nurtures its creative culture, opens itself to new knowledge and connects to cutting-edge thinkers,” said Abramson. “We are a place where big ideas and innovation can grow and be nurtured into real world success - and look forward to hosting the ideaFestival and bringing more of those big thinkers and innovators to our community.” The ideaFestival prototype, developed and tested in Lexington by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation and its partners, has grown in scope and attendance during three events since 2000. The most recent ideaFestival, held in 2004, drew nearly 10,000 attendees.
The organizers of ideaFestival, in anticipation of continued growth, decided to move to Louisville to take advantage of more venues, more sponsorship availability, and the opportunity to make the Festival an annual event. “We want to grow the Festival into a blockbuster national and international event that will help enhance Kentucky’s image as a place where cutting-edge ideas are welcome and can grow,” said KSTC President Kris Kimel.

The ideaFestival will take place in various venues throughout Louisville, October 12-14, 2006. It will focus on innovation and out-of-the-box thinking through the exploration and promotion of cutting-edge ideas across science, design, the arts, business, education, technology, film, etc. The format is dynamic and non-linear to promote cross-fertilization of ideas, creative thinking and networking among presenters and a diverse audience of participants. The event has a proven track record of attracting some of the leading thinkers and innovators in the world.

Past festival presenters include Oliver Sacks, noted neurologist and author; Twyla Tharp, Emmy-Award winning choreographer; Neil Gershenfeld, author and head of the Bits and Atoms Section at the MIT Media Lab; Sir George Martin, arranger and producer for the Beatles; Richard Florida, best selling author of the book “The Rise of the Creative Class”; Alex Britton, Europe-based serial international entrepreneur, designer, inventor; Anthony Tommasini, chief classical music critic for the New York Times; Dr. Ben Carson, head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins; Helene Andersson, head of life science business operations for Silex Systems in Sweden; Nancy Kress, a leading science fiction author; Leonard Shlain, cardiac surgeon and noted author; BrainStore, an idea development company in Switzerland; and MASS Ensemble, a group nationally renowned as architects of music.

The ideaFestival is rapidly gaining national and international traction with nearly 150,000 web hits in 2004 and coverage in Wired Magazine, the Boston Globe, Mental_Floss Magazine, and other print and media outlets.

Presenting Sponsors for the event to-date are the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and KSTC. Lead Sponsors include Greater Louisville Inc. and BellSouth. Other sponsors include Louisville Metro Government, Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Frost Brown Todd, LLC, TeN Network, Mental_Floss Magazine, Viacom Outdoor and Insight Communications.