WeDC Fest is in the books: What worked and what didn’t in the first year

The inaugural WeDC Fest didn’t draw the crowds that organizers expected, but it may be a good down payment for a festival that could eventually evolve into an event reminiscent of Austin’s megapopular South by Southwest.

By day two of the three-day festival that began Wednesday, organizers were already lamenting attendance at the free event, which was expected to attract up to 3,000. Attendance figures won’t be in until next week, but as of Thursday and early Friday, it was clear that there were plenty of empty chairs at panel sessions held at the National Building Museum, National Union Building and Pepco Edison Place Gallery.

WeDC Fest featured 150 speakers who discussed everything from economic development and technology to health care and the concept of smart cities. District officials hope the WeDC Fest will one day become similar to South by Southwest, a global event in Austin that draws entrepreneurs and thousands of attendees from across the world.

Keith Sellars, president and…

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