Dubbed “The Mix,” the festival was held on Nov. 11 and 12 at the iconic Al-Hamra stadium in Lahore and was hosted by the Punjab IT Board (PITB). The event brought together the worlds of fashion, art, food, tech and music.
Arab News spoke to Zainab Tariq, one of the planners behind the event who, along with team mate Sarah Ansari, curated the event.
“The Mix was inspired by the famed South by Southwest (SXSW) festival that happens every year in Austin, Texas,” Tariq said. “It bridges gaps between technology, culture, food, music, theater, art — everything.”
“The chairman of the PITB, Umar Saif, met with the SXSW team earlier this year, after their meeting it was decided that for sure the concept should be launched in Lahore,” Tariq added.
The purpose of the event went further than an entertaining weekend, however. “The Mix was to actually showcase how, in Lahore specifically, technology is becoming a hub or an intervention to solve all problems, be it ride hailing, food delivery, music, health and even digital advertising.’
The events included hands on Virtual Reality demos, art exhibitions and talks from various industry leaders who are diving into the world of tech to facilitate their businesses or outreach. “The conversations and the participants were filtered through people who were working in these specific industries and those of them who are most technically able were brought on board.”
With foot traffic that brought in estimates of 2,000 to 3,000 people at any one time, showing the everyday technology user what they could be accomplishing was another goal. “Technology is evolving every industry and we wanted to showcase to the average man that they could use a smartphone for so much more than they do at the moment. (We hoped to) eradicate the hesitation they have for example in paying their bills through an app.”
“The partners that we locked down were instantly convinced to be involved… they invest so much in their technical and digital platforms and they don’t get the highlight that they should be getting. It’s their own hustle to get out there so to have a platform where they can stand alongside established brands like Careem, or TCS, Patari, Mango Baaz and Booking.pk is incredible,” Tariq added.
The festival itself was a reminder that Pakistan, like most of the world, is embracing technology. Whether it is launching your own business, catching a ride or finding information at the touch of a finger, businesses and culture will continue to be shaped by changing technologies.