CampPress: A 2-3 Day Social Experience for Geeks and Creatives

I attend WordCamps on a regular basis and have often joked with attendees as well as organizers that there should be a WordCamp where people camp out. GoDaddy’s WordPress evangelist, Mendel Kurland, is taking it upon himself to turn the joke into reality. He’s in the preliminary stage of planning CampPress.

CampPress is a 2-3 day social experience for geeks and creatives to disconnect from technology to focus on community and creativity. The event is an adult geek summer camp infused with burning man values and is not affiliated with GoDaddy. I asked Kurland what his inspiration is to organize such an event.

“As creative professionals, sometimes we forget to disconnect. CampPress is inspired by the simpler lives we lived as kids, where social interactions and creativity were the hallmarks of great growth experiences. Traditional conferences are incredible at transferring knowledge and skills and creating personal connections. CampPress is about deepening connections between participants and strengthening bonds that encourage collaboration within the community.”

Camp Campbell is a Possible Venue
Camp Campbell is a Possible Venue

Some items will be provided, including, food staples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with a preparation area, space to camp, a cabin or RV hookup depending on the final location, and ice for beer. CampPress will also have a Pit of Creativity. Information on what the pit of creativity is for will be published on the official CampPress site at a later date.

If you’re interested in attending, volunteering, or simply want to stay updated on the event’s progress, sign up to the updates list. Based on initial reactions in the comments, people are excited to see such an event take place.

I would love to camp out for a few days with members of the WordPress community and disconnect from technology at the same time. Let us know in the comments if you’re interested in attending such an event. Also, give us your suggestions for venues you think would be a good fit for CampPress.

17 Comments


  1. Be great if it was all about ideas, design, dev, etc. With a complete moratorium on overt commercial sponsorships. No swag, and check your logos at the gate.

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    1. @jteague, would love to hear more about your ideas on making a disconnected event about design, dev, etc. The only swag at the event will be in the form of memories. :) As for overt commercial sponsorship, I agree that the ideal situation is that there is none.

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      1. I’d love to. Preparing an outline that I’ll share for consideration. And I would volunteer to help organize with you guys.

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      2. This is an outstanding idea, Mendel. I’d be happy to give survival lessons for those who are interested in learning about the outdoors. Depending on the venue of course.

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    2. Those commercial sponsorships tend to make your WordCamp tix go down to $25-$40. Cover lunch as well

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      1. Commercial sponsorships make tickets lower, but this isn’t a WordCamp. The idea is to disconnect and unhinge from brands. Lets learn about each other as people– our strengths, and learn to help bring those out in friends within the community.

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  2. I’d like to get something like this together in Iowa City. Hoping for some interest!

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  3. Also, give us your suggestions for venues you think would be a good fit for CampPress.

    Yeah, finding places for camping-like events is going to be much tougher than finding facilities to host a conventional conference.

    The bigger your envisioned outdoor event, the bigger the challenge finding a place. In fact, the idea is unsuitable (and unwelcome) in typical ‘campgrounds’, with anything resembling the numbers of a Word-ference.

    You have to ‘take over’ some place, completely. That’s why Mendel Kurland refers to a “summer camp”, meaning a property resembling a resort, which caters to single-party rentals. These are much less common (yet) than campgrounds, and they have their own sets of market/business expectations. (Such as, anything summer-camp-like will typically aim for longer occupancies, like a week minimum.)

    Competition for such sites is normally fierce. Everyone wants them in the nicest season, and then they languish most of the year. The business-model is highly suspect.

    It rains outside. Hello? In the roomy Great Basin, you risk mercury-busting temperatures. Bucolic childhood camping memories involve some fascinating selective recall.

    This general camping-idea has some tantalizing attractions & potential … but there are very real reasons we don’t see it being exploited more commonly.
    ===

    Amateur Radio has long conducted events that bear a resemblance to what’s on the table here (or in folks’ sweet lil’ imagination ;). Remember, Ham Radio is actually an Emergency Response or First Responder type of organization & portfolio. So a barren plot or field is acceptable, and they bring in all their support & logistics. They need not rely on – nay, actively avoid – developed venues.

    Ham Fests are often not at venues that are intrinsically romantic, that are in fact simply vacant properties. Yet they can be a seriously rippin’ social scene, with – notice – technically minded folks grappling together with shared challenges, in the face of unpredictable Nature.

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  4. Oh, Breightenbush Hot Springs. All the services and amenities, total back to nature, easy access, affordable, all you can eat food provided 3x a day, and completely diaconnected from Internet.

    Seriously. Would be a game changer.

    This sounds amazing. Having living on the road full time in an RV for years, and working on WordPress in that RV, this is right up my alley. Count me in.

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  5. Its a cool idea. My brother does this with Rockets and Astronomy get togethers. They camp, suck down suds etc. The problem they have had is getting a community to allow for it. Private camping grounds they couldnt do, liability reasons. They did that several times and it just didnt work based on rules. Astronomy is at night, campgrounds wanted everyone in bed, silent, by 1AM. And obviously Rocketry doesnt fly LOL in as far as launching them.

    Loudness, booze, that was that. The camp places didnt want liability.

    So I guess it took a little while but they managed to find an area in the desert basically where the country granted them access within reason and they came to terms on rules. Liability waived unto the group itself. With the Rockets, obviously they need inform times/dates etc as airspace needs to be clear. Astronomy has went well I guess.

    They do it freely for “club members”. If you charge any form of admissions things get a bit more hairy as now its construed public event which means insurance etc. comes into play and it varies by state. Even without admissions can be construed public event, really depends on the state. Some are really lax, like here where I am, not so at all.

    With things such as get togethers at seminars and such in buildings, the building management does all the fine print stuff. Like hotels do when there are conferences. The moment admissions are charged (in as far as I recall) its considered a commercial gathering although if a not for profit entity is established then can go that way under whatall form of NFP like 501c etc.

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  6. Your best bet is actually public land in a given county with authorization if you can do that.

    Alternative’s are things like farm land where the owner will agree, have libel signed off upon whatall. Like I said, its important to check with whatever the county is to make sure all the T’s are crossed and i’s dotted.

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  7. Rick,

    Go to a provincial/state park in the middle of nowhere type. book off a whole section of camping.

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  8. @Miroslav… Thats a great idea. I will pass it along to my brother. As I said, they now go out to the Desert which I guess is cool. Cool at night, Hot during the day. LOL. But for his astronomy group, no city lights, tree’s etc. For rockets, he launches the big ones and that requires clear skies both of Aircraft and scant clouds.

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