Big thanks for all the conference suggestions; via the blog, email and stopping me in the street. Here's a rough list of the ones that I'm liking the look of so far. I can't possibly go to all of these but I like thinking that I might. And I'm hoping some other, more random choices will poke their way in too.
The first one doesn't even have a date or a venue yet, but it's a fantastic idea, so whenever and wherever it is I'll be there: geeKyoto. And I'm very keen on these two science festivals - Liverpool in September and Cheltenham in June. Then everyone's been so enthusiastic about ReBoot, that seems a must. And there's been equal enthusiasm for LIFT, so maybe that'll replace ETech. I guess I have to decide that quite quickly, might already be too late. And all that's not cheap. And not forgetting dConstruct.
Mostly based on the website Port Eliot seems the most appealing literary thing so far, though there are no details for 2008. (It was in July in 2007. UPDATE: It seems it won't be happening in 2008. Shame.) I'm also hoping that London Lit Plus will happen again because that looked fantastic last time and I didn't get to go to any of it.
I think the Liverpool Biennial has to go on the list (September). I went to see Bill Drummond talk at Tate Liverpool at the end of the summer and he foreshadowed the biennial rather nicely. Be good to follow through. And I saw about the Asian Art Triennial in Manchester in April (on Chris's handy list of biennials). That looks interesting, since I'm unlikely to get to Asia at any point next year. I'm also intrigued to see what a Bucharest Biennial would be like, since the Romanians do everthing else with such aplomb. (May-June). Lauren's also persuading me to think about Ars Electronica too. (Especially since they invited me to enter 'coffee morning' in the competition this year.) It's in September though. Everything seems to be in September.
The delicious specificity of this chocolate festival has much to recommend it, but I'm not sure I like chocolate that much. The Abergavenny Food Festival seems more like it. It's a fantastic part of the world, and I was told today of a man who makes gourmet and experimental scotch eggs who exhibits there, so I must go. (It's also September, hmmm, September might be busy.)
I think Futuresonic has to go on the list (May, Manchester). And I suspect I'd enjoy Museums And The Web but it might be a bit far for me. TeachMeet (January 11, London, eek!) looks good too. I'll sign up for that. (I think I might go to BETT anyway, for the C4 stuff.)
All of which suggests that I could maybe give the big, structured things a miss (the TEDs, Poptechs, IdeaCities). Not that I could afford them. I think I'll have more fun cobbling a more random schedule together myself.
Which brings me to my final beg - can anyone suggest anything more random and unexpected? I'd like to peek inside other worlds and industries. Spread my wings a bit further afield. And that's hard stuff to google for if you don't even know where to start. I liked Bobbie's suggestion of the conference for the funfair/attractions industry in Orlando but I think I'd find it hard to justify the distance/frivolity ratio.
Is there anything else out there? Does anyone have any hobbies that would yield an interesting conference? Angling? Whittling? It's hard to ask for because I don't know what I'm after. But something, you know, different. Otherwise I might resort to random trade publications. Anyway, thanks for your indulgence and suggestions. Keep em coming.