That was an awesome barcamp (if I do say so myself!). 125 attendees, gorgeous weather, fab venue, food, entertainment and attentive staff. Although all this stuff was awesome, my hat goes off to all 125 of you who took the time to not only turn up, but to participate with such enthusiasm!
I must admit, this barcamp was a lot easier to organise than last year. On the back of all the photos and the feedback from last year’s event, sponsors were easier to come by (most were last year’s and word of mouth, including a massive advert in Linux Format), the format was easier and I had a huge band of willing helpers on the mailing list. Big kudos to Les and Grant for all their special efforts promoting the event. ( : Every mucked in during the run up and on the day itself. From Alistair setting up the wifi to Caz sorting out the registration. My projector fairies: Caius getting up at 7am to bring me a projector and screen (courtesy of @thehodge) all the way from Leeds, Kian and Cat bringing some all the way from Bolton and Jeremy bringing yet another. This was all because I’d actually had a nightmare about having no projectors at the event and my lovely, lovely friends all mucked in to provide dual redundancy. Which it turned out we needed when poor Duncan went to pick up his projectors from work and they’d disappeared!
I could go on all day thanking people, like Tim (for the theme tune and generally being awesome), Plip for being my drop dead gorgeous rock and to my fab new Esendex colleages Neil and Alex who came all the way up from Nottingham for their first ever barcamp!
Thanks to the sponsors, it couldn’t have been possible without you. The swag of gorgeous t-shirts from Paypal, the obligatory #bcblackpool rock from Jon Atkinson of Testled and 84Labs and the pretty pink memory sticks from Mount Recruitment. Thanks also to Yahoo! Developer Network, Adaptavist, Exceptioneer, Cti Group, Orange Tentacle, Magma Digital and Squizzle. Big thanks to my heroes LinuxFund for coming in at the last minute to help us out with extra pies and topping up the bar tab 😀
Thanks also to @joehallspies for our lovely lunch!
Oh and HUGE thanks to all those behind the scenes at our gorgeous venue. It’s really worth looking at if you want a venue for anything! http://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/business.php
Now I’ve got my big Oscar weepy speech out of the way, I can get onto the actual day.
The only problem I had with more attendees was tht I found myself flitting round like a social butterfly and, as organiser, rushing here and there to oversee the logistics of the day. This, of course, meant that I was unable to make all the talks I wanted to go to, and when I did manage to get to one I couldn’t stay the whole way through. I managed to get along to Jeremy’s talk on Hudson, Jon’s talk on Digitising the #bcblackpool board (something I really wanted to bring in this year), Ethan’s talk on Stick Men Animation (it was his first barcamp, this 11 year old lad is an inspiration to us all!).
After feedback from last year we started the event a bit later and had an icebreaker by The Hodge. This went really well, people seemed to enjoy it. Got some ideas for next year though! We also increased the session lenghts to 45 mins. I agree with the feedback that this ended up being too long. 20-30 mins in future is fine, people can then have 2 sessions if they need them. The board filled up within seconds and I’d really liked to have at least had my own session for bcblackpool feedback, but we live and learn. ( :
We added a could of extra spaces without projectors to add more rooms, next year I’ll do this from the outset with more room dividers (those things are ace and have their own tracks on the roof!). We’ll also try and get more projectors, but rooms without seem to work well. Would also have been nice to have the twitterfall somewhere.
Although I’d got tea and coffee in the morning and afternoon, and the kind staff did us some at £1 for lunch (with free refills) there were complaints there weren’t enough refreshments and that water was rubbish. We can’t bring outside food and drink in, but if people want to sponsor drinks next year so we have a plentiful and varied supply, please get in touch (gemma dot cameron at gmail dot com).
I don’t remember much of the evening, there was an amazing magician (thanks Paul) and a failed attempt at Werewolf. Next year, due to popular demand, we’ll have the DJ and presentation karaoke for the evening.
Great event, great venue, great support and amazing barcampers. I love you all.