A distant cousin of South by Southwest in Austin, Boston’s arts and thought festival HUBweek was set to go live this weekend.
Billed as a celebration of a city whose reputation as an education capital is centuries old and whose emphasis of late on tech and innovation has been obvious, HUBweek was scheduled to kick off on Saturday.
“We are already, as a region, we’re on fire right now,” HUBweek Executive Director Brendan Ryan told Metro. “We’re fortunate in that regard. We don’t have to jumpstart a lot, we’re just trying to give a voice to and express the stuff that’s already happening.”
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So far, Ryan said, 16,000 people have signed up to attend the 100 events planned. Organizers had hoped to get 10,000 sign-ups by now. Thousands more were expected to turn out on top of that, he said, especially for public art on tap near Fenway Park.
There had been lots of buzz about the weeklong event, its offerings a hodgepodge of cool things to see and eat and future-oriented conversations to witness.
Most of them are free, because most of them are sponsored by schools, hospitals or companies targeting new customers.
Harpoon, the local beer giant, brewed 300 gallons of a pale ale made with Charles River water, both a nod to cleanup efforts in the once-disgusting Boston natural resource and a showcase of advances in water-purifying tech.
Artists planned to light up Landsdowne Street way with a trippy interactive installation and turn the Green Monster into a musical instrument by scaling its sides and banging things against it. Run by artists Illuminus, the event was rescheduled to an Oct. 10 rain date. A preview party at the House of Blues was scheduled for Saturday night.
Massachusetts General Hospital was scheduled to host a discussion and hack-a-thon on battling addiction. Also on the schedule was a meet-up with MIT’s Climate CoLab on a new crowd-sourced project aimed at improving the environment.
What do celebrity cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington and comedian Whitney Cummings have in common? They’re all on the panel of HUBweek’s headliner, a “master class” on morality that was originally slated to take place in Fenway Park on Sunday (today it was announced the talk will be moved to Faneuil Hall, for hurricane-related reasons).
This is the first run for HUBweek, and Ryan called it a “coming out party” for the city amid a building boom rapid expansion of tech. He said the plan is to make it an annual tribute to modern Boston.
“We want to showcase what’s going on here, but even more importantly we want to open that work up and let people connect with their neighbors and their colleagues, who are doing interesting things every day around us,” Ryan said.