There were main stage sessions with some big names like Nir Eyal who talked about how to "hook" people on a product, and Jane McGonigal who talked about the importance of games. There were also lots of workshops on everything from community building to crowdfunding, and it was super cool to listen to people like Andrew Ference and Karen Unland, who both work hard to make Edmonton a better place.
Before it was called Ignite, the same festival existed as E-town, and it was super cool as well, with lots of interesting speakers (my life was changed by listening to Peter Diamandis talk about the future and abundance) and dynamic musicians. The E-Town version of the event had live music in the evening (Barenaked Ladies one year and Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk the next), while the Ignite version had networking and drinks instead. Although I love a live musical performance, the networking was actually better, as I made tons of connections, including meeting my boyfriend. It's too hard to talk to strangers with a band playing, and so some drinks and lounge music is better suited to encouraging people to meet one another.
The sad news is that this event has ended, likely due to the economic downturn. I do hope that organizers realize how valuable and wonderful it was. Heck, even the "break out rooms" were carefully designed by locals, and the results were fabulous. Take a look at these gems, and you will see the Shaw Conference Centre looking the best I've ever seen it!