Pause Fest 2021 expressions of interest are now open

Hey leaders, innovators and visionaries:
World’s leading festival for business and creativity wants you!

A year of changes. 2021 event will be hybrid. There will be options: online for international speakers and in person for the local.

The best leaders are built in the hardest of times and our agility to respond and adapt to rapid changes is key to success. The creativity will save the day, again. Pause Fest, in its 11th edition is looking for compelling expressions of interest from various industries to inform the future state of innovation in Australia.

Pause alumni include thinkers from the likes of Atlassian, Google, Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb, HyperloopTT, NASA, IBM, Cisco, JWT, BBC, WGSN, Adobe, Wired, Adidas, WPP, CERN, InVision, YouTube, Square Peg, Pixar, R/GA, Dropbox, Ueno, Guardian, OzHarvest, Xero, Nest, The Mill, Canva, Slack, Uber Eats, Disney, Shopify, Epic Games, Mercedes plus over 1,200 of the most cutting edge companies. Now it’s your chance to put your ideas forward to inspire the new world and rub shoulders with the giants of innovation across the worlds of creative, tech and business.

The festival will showcase the most innovative professional minds from the world and Australia all bespokely packed into awe-inspiring days of content for you. Pause Fest’s authentic programming drives the entrepreneurial spirit from speakers to attendees, corporates to startups, creativity to marketplace and vice versa. But 2021 won’t be an easy year to adapt, the event will serve as a voice of sapience in the post C19 world no matter what its delivery is.

PFA21 Changes ArticleArtboard 1 copy 2

Last year we posed a question ‘Who owns the future?’ and this year it feels more like ‘What is our future?’ with a sub question of 5xWhy. The theme for next year is ‘Changes’. They are part of us, but what we learn and how we adapt is critical to our existence. We want to hear the great transforming stories and life lessons in business - your learnings, pivots, fuckups, highs and lows.

In 2020, Pause Fest saw over 20,000 people in person and online combined. Attendees heard from 360 inspirational speakers presenting ideas that challenged perceptions and inspired new ways of thinking across industries and in outer space. We can’t wait to hear your new, next and beyond stories.

The only rule is that any ideas put forward must be 'content you can't Google'. Applications close on 30 July 2020.


PFA21 Changes ArticleArtboard 1


Fire off your expression of interest below or for multiple segments. If we’re picking up what you’re putting down, we’ll invite you to complete the next stage of the registration process. Successful applicants will receive confirmation around 1 September 2020.

The event will be hybrid, online and in person. While applying take that into consideration that you maybe delivering it online, or that maybe your preference.


We want ideas. We want rule breakers and pioneers. We want creators. Whether you’re an intern or a CEO, a founder or a fax machine expert, we believe anyone can have an industry-changing idea.

APPLY TO SPEAK HERE (if the link is not opening, go HERE)


Putting together a panel for Pause Fest involves three things: picking the right people, picking the right topic, and managing your panelists. Yes, you’ll want to find like-minded thinkers, but you won’t want them to agree on everything.

APPLY TO HOST A PANEL HERE (if the link is not opening, go HERE)


Have you ever wanted to run your own workshop? Whether you’re an agency or a sole trader, a studio or a specialist, a not-for-profit or a totally-for-profit: if you have something to teach, we want to hear it. 

APPLY TO HOST WORKSHOP HERE (if the link is not opening, go HERE)


We want pros. We want experts. We want people with an experience of taking product or an idea to market. We want people who understand people, community and culture builders and those that can spot the real talent.



If you are running your own meetups for yourself, a business or a cause maybe you’d like to consider running it in the week of Pause Fest. Meetups are mini events organised by passionate community driven folk around various specialist interests. They were super popular in 2020!

APPLY TO HOST MEETUP HERE (if the link is not opening, go HERE)


Pause Fest Originals - Motion Response is our signature initiative. If you are a talented solo artist or a studio that wants to collaborate on a project that will be featured at Pause Fest, here's your call. 

APPLY FOR MOTION RESPONSE HERE (if the link is not opening, go HERE)

MENTOR SESSIONS (investors, experts and HR)

Our ‘Speed Date Experts’ series is led by leaders and innovators. It allows Pause attendees a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with industry leaders (that’s you) in a 1-on-1 setting.

APPLY FOR MENTOR SESSIONS HERE (if the link is not opening, go HERE)


You can sponsor the whole festival, a single session, execute a bespoke activation or host a Happy Hour. And as part of the Pause family, your brand will get access to awe-inspiring keynote speakers, activations, installations, networking parties and, of course, our highly-engaged audience. 

APPLY TO SPONSOR OR PARTNER HERE (if the link is not opening, go HERE)


For the last seven years, hundreds of startups have exhibited at Pause. And many of those startups have gone on to do amazing things like Canva, Zero Latency and Plattar. Small seeds of ideas have grown into actual products that people know and love. 

APPLY TO PITCH & EXHIBIT HERE (if the link is not opening, go HERE)


Is it weird? Great. Experiences must be subversive, interact with their surroundings and, of course, be original concepts. But if you are a talented performer, can entertain, do standup, play music and sing - we'd love that too!



To be a Pause stage MC, you’ll typically be a leader in your respective field, capable of commanding a room, keeping things moving along smoothly, and getting the best out of both our Pause participants and audience.

APPLY FOR STAGE MC HERE (if the link is not opening, go HERE)


Volunteers are the lifeblood of Pause Fest. They enable us to make all of our electric dreams a reality. If you’re passionate about new ideas, emerging technology, and grabbing the future by the horns – we want to hear from you. 

APPLY TO VOLUNTEER HERE (if the link is not opening, go HERE)

PFA21 Changes ArticleArtboard 1 copy

AI & IoT / Advertising & Marketing / Architecture & Urbanism / Blockchain & Cryptocurrency / Cannabusiness / Government & Politics / Code & Programming / Design, UX/CX & Creativity / Digital Culture / Education & EdTech / Entertainment & Influencers / eSports & Gaming / Film & TV Industry / Finance, FinTech & VC / Food Industry & AgTech / Future Living & PropTech / Future of Work / Health, MedTech & Wellbeing / Legal, IP and Data Protection / Media & Journalism / Motion, Animation & VFX / Music Industry & MusicTech / Space & Science / Smart Future / Social & Global Impact / Sports & SportsTech / Startup & Entrepreneurship / Storytelling & Brand Experience / Style & Retail / Tech Industry & Enterprise / Transport & Mobility / VR/AR/MR


The final result of your submission depends on the quality or your idea, substance and speakers proposed if it’s a panel. Every year gets harder and harder. In 2020 we received 1,000 applications for 150 sessions available. We read them all! The difference between those that make it and those that don’t is in your full submission, topic title, your expertease on pitched ideas and how well you can present it.



·       Please submit your expression of interest by 30 July 2020

·       Expect confirmations around 1 September 2020