WordCamp Bristol 2019 – My first experience as an organiser

I’ve been involved in the WordPress community for a long time, years in fact. I’ve both sponsored and attended myriad WordCamps across Europe and the US. However, I live in Bristol. Like most people, I’m proud of where I live, and want our WordCamp to truly reflect the wonderful people, events and companies who reside here.

For this reason I’ve volunteered to find sponsors for WordCamp Bristol 2019.

I have two big challenges. The first is that I’ve not done this before, so there’s a learning curve. WordCamps aren’t cheap and rely heavily on sponsorship to balance the budget. Talking to other people who’ve organised WordCamps this often changes in the last few weeks. I’m not comfortable with this, I’d rather have all the sponsors signed up in plenty of time so there’s no stress. What happens if we can’t cover the budget?  If I’d done this before, and had experienced the “coming together at the last moment” relief, I’d be happier.

The second challenge is that WordCamp Bristol is expanding. In fact it’s doubling in size. This makes sense, as it’s the second one.  As a city, we have a great tech community in general, and for WordPress in particular. Bristol has been recognised as the 6th best city for tech across Europe, Middle East and Africa. That’s a very wide net, and to be 6th is a real testament to what’s happening here. We’ve also been voted as the best city in the UK for tech start ups. Part of this community is WordPress. The MeetUp group is very strong, and expanding. There’s a plethora of WordPress agencies, freelancers and consumers. And of course, it’s the home of Mind Doodle and FlexiDB.

Challenges make life interesting. We’ve tried to be creative in the packages we’ve put together. There are the standard ones which write themselves- stand, banner, logo on slides, tweets, etc – but also packages for both the Contributor Day and After Party.   

The first WordCamp Bristol didn’t have a Contributor Day, which made sense as it was the first one and everyone was learning how to run it. As an open source community it’s important to support and encourage contributors, old and new. But it costs money, hence the introduction of sponsorship to specifically recognise its value. I think this would be ideal for a sponsor who can’t attend, but wants to give back to the community. Karma is good, and there will of course be increased brand awareness. The same goes for the After Party. Both are no hassle opportunities to support WordPress and portray a company in a positive light.

Overall, it’s been, and continues to be, a lot of fun. The other organisers are fantastic. Each experts at what they do. I’ve been running software companies since 2001, my team are great, but it’s refreshing to work with new minds and alternative ideas. 

In particular, I love the street art theme. Bristol has a strong history of artistic graffiti. UPFEST, the largest festival of its kind in Europe, takes place in Bristol. And of course, we are the home of Banksy. Our designer Ben has done an incredible job. Most of all, I love grafuu, our wapuu.

For more information about WordCamp Bristol 2019, visit our website. If anyone is interested in being a sponsor, then this is the page for you.

Categories: Blog

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