Today, festival Director Daniel Golding (pictured right alongside newly announced chair Trent Kusters and board member Jess Kilby) and announced big changes to the Freeplay Festival in Melbourne.
Freeplay is Australia’s largest and longest-running independent games festival, and for the first time since its inception ten years ago, it will be held in April (rather than the back half of 2014), with several smaller Freeplay-branded events taking place in the coming months.
“We think there’s a real chance to change the conversation and renew the festival through this shift,” said Golding. “We’re really putting the ‘festival’ part of our name at the forefront in 2015, which is an exciting challenge and one that we think is going to have a huge impact on what we do.”
Freeplay announced today ‘Play by the Book’, an event which will pit on-stage indie game-playing against spoken word on 31st August as part of the Melbourne Writer’s Festival’s ‘LitHop’ event, and ‘Parallels’, a day-long event of interactive exhibitions punctuated by a 90-minute curated showcase of local indie talent on 18th October, which will take place at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
“For a long time, Freeplay has been about the critical exploration of the indie space,” added Golding. “We think there’s an amazing cross-section of developers in Australia, some of whom aren’t always in the limelight, and now we get a chance to show what we’ve found to everyone else.”
Next year’s festival, while pushed back from the expected September 2014 date, is still very much the main event, and the festival Directors are promising the biggest line-up of events yet. The April 2015 festival will span ten days, and the team are promising big things.
According to Golding, Freeplay is a response to ‘the need to simply just get Australia’s most amazing and independently spirited game makers in the same room together’, which it has been doing for many years now. This is the largest shakeup to the format to come out of the long-running festival, however, so there’s still much to be seen as further details are revealed.