You might have noticed that October has gotten a little busy — and we’re not talking about trying to find just the right pieces for your amazing Harry Potter Halloween costume. In Bend, the best of all fall months is now host to a plethora of independently organized conferences, including Bend Venture, Bend Design, Swivel, the unConference, the Venture Out Festival and BendFilm. Visit Bend has designated the whole to-do as Tenth Month, a month-long SXSW-ish celebration of ideas and innovation.


There’s a lot happening. You can learn about all sorts of things, meet all sorts of interesting people and at the very least, go to some fun parties. It’s like college, but less homework and probably better clothes.

Here are some of the Tenth Month events to put on your calendar.

The BendFilm Festival, now in its 13th year, is a celebration of independent cinema. The festival is dedicated to supporting brave and talented filmmakers while educating communities about the value of independent art. With venues sprinkled throughout downtown Bend, you’ll often find the filmmakers hanging with the audience.

The Swivel conference is a two-day boutique marketing education experience held at the iconic Tower Theatre, Oxford Hotel, and the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Bend. Thought leaders from around the globe gather together to exchange ideas and how-tos about the latest trends in digital marketing, search, social media, and creativity. It’s a must for anyone who conducts business via the web and wants to not only keep up with the pace, but stay a
step ahead of the pack.
October 12 // UNCONFERENCE 
This is an informal and fun startup pitchfest, presented by the Tech Alliance of Central Oregon (TACO!) and StartupBend. Startups pitch, the crowd votes and the winner gets to present as the wild card spot on the Bend Venture Conference early stage and a chance to win the $15,000 BendBroadband award.
This the first-ever venture event geared solely toward outdoor companies, presented by Bend Outdoor Worx. Early and growth stage startups will pitch and compete for $110,000 in investment and awards. Former professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce is the keynote speaker.

The largest Angel Conference in the Pacific Northwest, Bend Venture Conference spotlights entrepreneurship and innovation. Attendees play an active role in determining the Early Stage winner, with investments, awards and prizes close to $1 million given away at last year’s event.

Embrace creativity in anything and everything. This is the ethos of Bend Design Conference. A celebration of design culture in the modern world, the two-day event will be filled with conversations, tours, interactive workshops, and hands-on exhibits all designed to disrupt the norm.

Phew. And I’m sure there’s more. You know that saying “You can sleep when you’re dead.” In Bend, you can sleep in November. Because your October is booked.


Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at or

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley