Birmingham to Host First In-Person WordCamp, February 4-5, 2022

WordCamp Birmingham is the first in-person WordCamp on the schedule for 2022. The event will be held at the Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema in downtown Birmingham on February 4-5. It is one of the first cracks in WordPress’ iced over event landscape after the pandemic brought in-person gatherings to a halt.

“WordCamp Birmingham was one of 40 or more WordCamps that needed to cancel or postpone in 2020,” lead organizer Ryan Marks said. “We had intentions of just postponing until 2021. During WordFest 2021 in July, Matt Mullenweg said, ‘I encourage people to start planning. As soon as you feel safe to do so, do so.’ The proposal to return to in-person WordCamps was announced within a week of that interview. The local team met in August and targeted early February for our event. When the announcement updating the guidelines for in-person WordCamps was posted in September, it gave us a green light to keep moving forward.” 

The updated guidelines for in-person WordCamps require that attendees be fully vaccinated, recently tested negative, or recently recovered in the last three months. Marks said the organizing team has not made a decision about whether to require masks but will be monitoring local health guidelines and communicate any expectations with attendees in January.  

WordCamp Birmingham secured a flexible arrangement with the venue in case they need to cancel.

The contract with Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema gives us the flexibility to cancel without any loss of deposit as long as we give notice more than 7 days before the event,” Marks said. “This was sufficient for our local organizing team and WordPress Community Support.”

Marks reported that the process of getting the WordCamp approved was “quite smooth” thanks to assistance from their mentor, Kevin Cristiano, who worked with them on budget review.

Although the maximum capacity of the venue is 300, the organizers have capped attendee numbers at 200 as a precaution.

Tickets are on sale and the calls for speakers, sponsors, and volunteers is open. Organizers expect that it will sell out quickly since it’s the first in-person WordCamp since all the pandemic cancellations.

“The best thing about WordPress isn’t the software, it’s the community,” WordCamp Birmingham speaker wrangler Nathan Ingram said. “And WordCamps are where the community meets, shares, and learns together. Virtual WordCamps have been necessary, but just aren’t the same as being together face to face.

“WordCamp Birmingham is the oldest WordCamp in the Southeast – our first WordCamp was in 2008. I hope that this year’s WordCamp Birmingham is a family reunion – a place where friends and colleagues can gather and enjoy the community that makes WordPress so great.”


12 responses to “Birmingham to Host First In-Person WordCamp, February 4-5, 2022”

  1. $50 for a two day event, I thought the average was $20 per day.

    Anyways…not that I would attend even without Panda. As I live in Canada.
    There should be an e-ticket/stream/live option for WordCamps.

    I always wanted to attend WordCamps as part of my vacation or business trip. If I was going to Miami, I could stop for a weekend or couple of days at Birmingham and attend WordCamp.

    If I was travelling to Zagreb or Dubrovnik in Croatia…I could attend WordCamps in Portugal, Spain, England, etc…on my way to Croatia.

    I had those plans then Panda came.

    That cancellation policy/agreement within 7 days thing…could that make the cost of the rooms/building/hall/etc…make things cost more for future WordCamps (not just Birmingham), thus ticket prices go higher?

    It would of been nice if Birmingham would of had a stream/live/e-ticket option.

    Yes I know streaming costs money.

    What I do like is:

    Attendees should only participate if:

    You are fully vaccinated
    OR recently tested negative,
    OR recently recovered (in the last 3 month)

    WordCamp Organizers will not ask for proof or documentation of the above. We will be monitoring local health guidelines and will communicate any expectations with attendees in January.

    What is the point of putting any restrictions/requests/limitations if you are not going to enforce it. I think USA is still the highest country in the world for Panda.

    • Miroslav, a few points to your comment…

      First, per WordCamp Central’s guidelines, WordCamps (at least in the US) can charge $25 per day. That has been the standard for a couple of years now.

      Second, the standards for attendees regarding COVID status were also provided by WordCamp Central after much discussion within the community. As organizers, we are simply sharing those expectations with attendees.

      Third, we are a small team of volunteer organizers here in Birmingham. While streaming would be nice, we’re doing our best to handle all the details to have a great love event. We currently don’t have the volunteer hours to coordinate streaming. Our efforts at this point are on fundraising, venue logistics, speakers, sponsors, food, and hopefully designing a cool t-shirt 🙂

      • Nathan, a few points to your comment…

        1) I know you are all volunteers, I helped in a few WordCamps a few years ago for some years. I understand and appreciate the efforts volunteers do. If I could, I’d fly to Birmingham with a giant thank you card for all of you. Though I don’t know if there are direct flights from Toronto, I might have to fly to Heathrow or Gatwick then take a train or two to Birmingham.

        2) My comment about streaming was for all WordCamps, not just Birmingham. It’s 2021, there should be streaming at technology based events/conferences. I personally hate it that it’s taking the back seat at most WordCamps.

        3) I have no problem spending $25 USD or equivalent in GBP, EUR, HRK, PEN, etc…as long as I get a quality event. By the way I am in Canada, not US.

        You know, I had plans to travel around the world for different technology events, including WordCamps but Panda came around.


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