At This Desert Festival, the Guest Speakers Are Almost as Cool as the Music

A scene from last year's Further Future festivalEXPAND
A scene from last year's Further Future festival
Photo by Gilles Bonugli Kali

Lots of electronic music festivals like to bill themselves as "futuristic," with plenty of high-tech sounds and visuals to make attendees feel as if they've stepped into the 23rd century, or at least an outtake from The Fifth Element. But Further Future, a Nevada festival now in its second year, takes that concept one step (ahem) further, by booking not just cutting-edge sounds but cutting-edge thought leaders.

Last year, Further Future brought such entrepreneurial luminaries as SoundCloud founder/CEO Alexander Ljung and Google X Laboratories mastermind Astro Teller out to the remote Moapa River Reservation, 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas, to participate in the festival's Vision Speaker Series. This year, they've managed to coax an even more impressive, TED-worthy lineup out into the Mojave Desert.

Confirmed speakers so far include (to name a few): Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc. (the recently formed parent company of Google); iHeartMedia chairman-CEO Bob Pittman; Neuroscience Imaging Center founder and leading neuroscientist Dr. Adam Gazzaley; cannabis legalization advocate Jane West; Facebook Messenger product head Stan Chudnovsky; 3-D projection mapping expert Bryant Place; and maverick cellist and digital DIY pioneer Zoe Keating. You can view a full list of speakers on the festival's website.

Saul Griffith, CEO of Otherlab, at last year's Further Future festivalEXPAND
Saul Griffith, CEO of Otherlab, at last year's Further Future festival
Photo by Nicolas Troncin

Oh yeah — there's music, too. The three-day festival, which takes place April 29 to May 1, will feature performances by Caribou, Nicolas Jaar, Daedelus, The Pharcyde, Derrick Carter, Oneohtrix Point Never, Kid Koala, Low Leaf (whom we profiled earlier this year) and about 50 other artists. There will be wellness workshops, art and technology installations, and a vendor village offering various food and beverage options, including pop-up brunches and dinners with "world-renowned chefs."

Further Future is the work of Robot Heart, an arts collective best known for its popular Burning Man theme camp. So if it all sounds a bit like a mini–Burning Man, well, it probably is — but one with better music and dining options. And one in which you can hear Eric Schmidt talk to party people in flowy desert rave attire about the future of the Internet.

For more information, visit furtherfuture.com.


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