Behind the scenes of DrupalCon Munich

Jan 16, 2012

It has been a few months since Munich was announced as the location of the next european DrupalCon, but much of what has happened since then has been mostly invisible to the community. Many people attend DrupalCon, but few people are aware of what goes into preparing such an event, and this is what I would like to share with you in this post.

DrupalCon is the international conference that brings Drupalists from the whole world together. The conference takes place twice a year, once in North America in the spring and once in Europe at the end of the summer. The conference goes from Monday to Friday, with (optional) commercial trainings on Monday, conference sessions from Tuesday to Thursday and a big contribution sprint on Friday.

DrupalCon is a non-profit event with a team of professionals behind the logistics and finances, as well as a team of volunteers from the community that take care of conference content, promotion and all the details that make each conference unique.

I am one of the members of the volunteer team, serving as a "Community Representative" with Karsten Frohwein. I have been involved in the Drupal community for many years, have participated in the organization of many Drupal events and have been a track chair for DrupalCon Szeged, Copenhagen and London. DrupalCon Munich will be the 10th consecutive DrupalCon that I attend, and it's an honor for me to play a decisive role in its organization.

There are a lot of things coming up, including an update to the website that will contain most of the information below. However, since there have been many requests for a status update, I thought it would be good to share this here with you. The following descriptions are not an exhaustive list of everything that has been done so far.

The current DrupalCon Munich team

There are many key roles that come in the organization of DrupalCon, many of which requiring a lot of responsibility, experience and personal investment. One of my first tasks was to find the right people to fill out these roles. This process takes a long time and some roles still need to be filled, but between track chairs, design, marketing and various other areas we currently have around 30 people helping with DrupalCon Munich.

While there is a lot of work to do, we cannot accept help from people who can only provide a few hours of work at this point. However, if you can dedicate time, responsibility, motivation and time (did I mention time?) and want to take the lead on a part of the conference, I would be happy to hear from you and to discuss the best way for you to get involved.

As the conference gets closer, there will be more opportunities to be involved, especially for the few days before the conference. Please fill out the contact form on our website if you are interested in volunteering and we will contact you later on. For an idea of the kind of tasks that will be available, have a look at the volunteer form that was just posted for DrupalCon Denver.

Also, many people in our community have some serious coding skills. If you want to put them to good use and support DrupalCon Munich and all future DrupalCons, the best thing you can do is to help improve the Conference Organizing Distribution by providing bug reports and patches.

Defining the general theme of the conference

Before any planning for the content of the conference can be done, the general theme of the conference had to be defined. DrupalCon is about Drupal of course, but every conference has a main idea that shapes its content and gives it a direction.

The general theme of DrupalCon Munich is probably best expressed by the tagline "Open Up! Connecting systems and people". On one hand we want to address the open standards that allow separate independent systems to communicate with each other, but also emphasize the human impact of using open data. We also wanted to take the occasion of a conference focusing on interconnections to open the discussion with other open source communities such as Typo 3 or Symfony.

Conference content

The conference content will consists as usual of the following:

  • 3 Keynote presentations
  • Over 70 Sessions, both in the form of presentations and moderated panel discussions
  • Bird-of-a-feather Sessions aka BoFs, which are small unformal discussions on very specific topics
  • The Contribution Lounge (during the whole conference) and the Contribution Sprint (on Friday)

The following tracks have been defined with their respective track chairs:

  • Coder: Stefan Freudenberg, Larry Garfield
  • Site-Building: Daniel Nolde, Allie Micka
  • Design, theming and UX: Jozef Toth, Roy Scholten
  • Community: João Ventura, Greg Dunlap
  • Business: Miro Dietiker, Michael Meyers
  • Infrastructure: Gerhard Killesreiter, Kris Buytaert
  • Core conversations: Daniel Kudwien, Larry Garfield

Sponsorship

Megan Sanicki, who works as the Drupal Association's sales manager, did a fantastic job getting sponsors motivated about DrupalCon Munich. Diamond, platinum and gold sponsorships are sold out. Silver and bronze sponsorships are still available as well as a few special sponsorships, see the official sponsorship packages description for the details. Please get in touch with Megan Sanicki (megan@association.drupal.org) if you have any questions regarding sponsorships.

Ticket prices

One of the common questions concerns the ticket prices. Unfortunately, the ticket prices have not been determined yet, but this information will be ready soon.

Future updates

There are many more exciting things coming up until August. Once the DrupalCon website is updated we will provide you with more regular updates and announcements.

I would like to thank my partners at Wunderkraut for supporting my involvement in the organization of this event.