The first WordCamp Miami was held in 2010, spreading the phenomenon of WordCamps to one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US. Every single year the event has sold out and attendance has steadily increased:
- 2010 attendance: 250 people (sold out)
- 2011 attendance: 340 people (sold out)
- 2012 attendance: 420 people (sold out)
- 2013 attendance: 500 people (sold out), 1500 unique visitors via livestream
This year the team anticipates 600 – 700 attendees. Now that the official dates have been announced, they’ve opened the event up for speaker submissions and sponsors. They’ve also put together a photo contest to celebrate the 5th anniversary. Contestants are urged to take a unique WordPress or WCMIA photo and submit for a chance to win prizes from the organizers.
WordCamp Miami is a fantastic example of a WordPress event done right. It’s not easy to nail down why it’s been such a successful event, because so many factors come into play. Bisset says that he doesn’t have a formula for other WordCamps to follow:
WordCamps are not all clones of each other, they each have their own mood and personality. For Miami, we’ve been wild and experimental in what we do to see what works well and what doesn’t. But we’ve always held in high regard that WordCamps in general should be about education, the social element, and networking. You don’t truly appreciate the WordPress community until you’re literally surrounded by people at a WordCamp or WordPress social event, and it’s something that you can’t fully pick up online.
Putting together a massive event like WordCamp Miami is quite a feat, but Bisset has help from his local community. The organization committee he works with has different people to help handle various aspects of the event. The team also holds a special relationship with local people from the University of Miami LaunchPad and RefreshMiami, two local tech groups that have also pitched in to help.
I asked Bisset if he’ll be down for the next five years of organizing WordCamp Miami. He said he’s taking it one year at a time. “I wasn’t expecting to be planning a WordCamp for this long. So, yes definitely taking it one year at a time. I think every year I say “that’s it” but that passes after a few months.”
If past years are any indication, this event is bound to sell out quickly so get your tickets early if you plan to go. First time attendees are also welcome to get in on the photo contest for a chance to win tickets and prizes. The event will be stocked with goodies for attendees when they arrive in May in order to say thanks to the thousands of people that have supported WordCamp Miami throughout the years. The organizers have planned an amazing after party, even more exciting than last year’s dance-off that boasted an iPad as the grand prize. WordCamp Miami 2014 is ramping up to be the best event the team has put on so far.