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Festival to showcase Dorset’s digital future

A five-day festival will be staged at locations across Dorset next month to showcase the county’s exciting digital future.

Dorset Council’s Festival of the Future is back – and this time it’s a truly hybrid event where people can attend in person or take part virtually.

Held from 4-8 October, #FutureFest21 will highlight the innovation and technology that is set to transform the county as a place to live, work, visit, learn and do business in.

Dorset Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Peter Wharf, said: “Last year we held our very first Festival of the Future and it was a huge success.

“The event had to be entirely online due to the Covid restrictions but this year we’re breaking new ground.

“Our festival will be a fully-fledged hybrid experience where we will be live with a local audience and available online for people to view as a live broadcast.

“It promises to be a lot of fun, very exciting and enlightening as we look into what our future holds – and best of all it is completely free to attend.”

Each day of the festival will focus on a different sector and will feature guest speakers who are all leaders in their fields.

On the first day, the business world takes centre stage live from the Dorset Innovation Park in Winfrith.

Festival goers will get to see how the defence industry created the unique BattleLab to trial new innovations and will hear how digital can underpin Dorset’s future economy.

Day two sees the festival travel to Shaftesbury and the spotlight falls on the future of education.

The festival will go back to school to ask what will the classroom of the future look like?

On day three the festival travels to the coast for a special focus on tourism.

Tourism and digital leaders will discuss how innovation can enhance and revolutionise the industry and the visitor experience.

Rural affairs and the environment will be at the heart of discussions for day four of the festival.

Live from a farm near Blandford, experts will demonstrate innovation in farming and show the technical ways of monitoring production and how a new breed of robots can zap weeds and improve yields.

In the afternoon session, the festival will explore the climate and ecological emergency in Dorset; considering aquaculture, the natural environment and how Low Carbon Dorset is helping organisations reduce their energy carbon footprint.

On the final day of the festival the very important subject of innovation in health and social care will be shared from Moors Valley Country Park.

The morning session will look at how technology can help people live independently and how the pandemic changed services.

A final encore in the afternoon will see the festival end on a high talking about digital leadership and promoting wellbeing.

Dorset Council’s chief executive, Matt Prosser, said: “We’ll be exploring very important issues and topics but in a relaxed, fun-packed way full of festival atmosphere.

“We hope as many people as possible with an interest in business, tourism, education, rural affairs and health and social care come and join us for our Festival of the Future 21 – either in person or online.”

For more details and to book free tickets go to

Paul Appleby
Author: Paul Appleby