CultureTECH Festival: 40,000 to play their part in Derry's nine-day digital extravaganza
More than 40,000 people are expected to take part in the annual CultureTECH Festival in Derry this weekend.
The event, which starts tomorrow and celebrates all things digital, has been expanded to nine days this year.
Highlights including a city-wide 'maker' fair, three days of Minecraft gaming and over a dozen industry conferences and seminars.
CultureTECH is now the largest creative industries and technology event in Northern Ireland, and one of the largest family-friendly technology events in the UK and Ireland.
It has become a significant event for young people, something which is reflected heavily in this year's programme. More than 15,000 schoolchildren will take part in events across the week including 7,000 at a huge science stage show at the Millennium Forum.
One of the event organisers, Mark Nagurski, said: "The aim of CultureTECH has always been to make technology fun and accessible, so it's not surprising that it's families and the young people of Northern Ireland who have really taken it to their hearts.
"You can really see that influence in the 2015 programme; everything is about getting hands-on with technology and having fun."
As part of the programme, Derry will be invaded tomorrow by all things relating to Star Wars.
There will also be demonstrations of how technology can grow business and create employment.
Maker City will run on Friday and Saturday, September 18 and 19 when more than 100 technology exhibits and workshops will be held at venues across the city centre.
President of the Chamber of Commerce Gerry Kindlon said CultureTECH was critical to the north west's development as a centre of innovation.
He explained: "As the future of work increasingly changes it is important that our youth see how technology helps us become more creative and innovative.
"The event is unique and an important asset for the city." Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Elisha McCallion said CultureTECH Festival helped to celebrate and support the city's reputation for technology, music, arts and media.
She said: "The festival is one of the city and region's most creative and forward-thinking events attracting top quality facilitators to participate in a wide spectrum of events aimed at showcasing and promoting creative talents.
"The council's financial support and commitment to the festival is in keeping with our pledge to promote our digital economy and encourage participation in the creative sectors."
CultureTECH will take place throughout Derry from tomorrow until Sunday, September 20. The full festival programme can be found online at www.culturetech.co