WordCamp US attendees are counting down the days until the event kicks off in Philadelphia in two weeks but preparations for 2017 and 2018 are already underway. Yesterday Matt Mullenweg announced that Nashville has won the bid to host WordCamp US for the next two years. According to Randy Hicks, one of the organizers, the new Music City Center venue, which was finished in 2013, has been reserved from Thursday, November 30, 2017, to Sunday, December 3 but the camp will take place Friday – Sunday. The venue has confirmed the ability to host 3,000 – 5,000 attendees.
“We have a brand new venue that is pretty amazing but Nashville is very centrally located to handful of other cities that all have their own WordCamps,” Hicks said. “I think there are about seven camps within 4-5 hours. The WP community around Nashville is rather strong.”
Over the past few years the local WordPress community has grown and WordCamp Nashville sold 325 tickets at its 2016 event.
“I’ve been coming to the meetups since the very first one and have been an organizer since about the same time as well as John Housholder,” Hicks said. “We’ve seen the community explode every year after WordCamp, but 2014 and 2015 have been huge growth years for Nashville as a whole and the meetup has reflected those numbers.”
The application process included nailing down a venue, creating a budget, and gathering specific details about wifi capabilities, room capabilities, hotel availability, and date availability. Organizers from both the Nashville team and the Denver team (another finalist) agreed that the application time frame was somewhat constrained.
“I thought the time frame between start and submission was pretty short, but I think that depends on who is submitting and how informed they are on their local venue,” Hicks said. “Ours was really hard to get information from.”
The Denver team had a similar struggle with locking down a venue without certainty of being able to fully book the reservation.
“There was what I would consider to be a semi-fanatical obsession with the first weekend in December, which was flatly unavailable at the convention center here,” said Drew Jaynes, one of the organizers who applied on behalf of Denver.
“To give you some perspective, at the time that we applied, March 2016, there were two available weekends left for the Colorado Convention Center – two in all of 2017. The end of August and the middle of December. To organize an event of this size on what would be considered relatively short notice for a city as popular as Denver was essentially a fool’s errand.”
The Nashville organizing team was able to secure its venue for early December dates, but a wider range of acceptable dates might be one way for WordCamp Central to improve the process for next year. This would give more cities the opportunity to submit competitive applications, as venues that can accommodate the expected size of WCUS are in high demand in popular cities.
“We had a great set of communities apply so it was tough to pick just one,” WordCamp Central representative Cami Kaos said. “In the end we went with Nashville for WordCamp US 2017-2018 because it seems like a great location for attendees, they had a beautiful venue that could accommodate an event of this size as we grow, and the dynamics between both teams were a natural fit.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Nashville, the organizing team has created a page that includes some favorite local attractions and rankings:
- Ranked within the top 10 on Cvent ’s list of Top 50 Meeting Destinations in the United States. (August 2015)
- Named #3 Best Convention City in the 10 Best USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards
- Ranked #1 Friendliest City in America by Travel and Leisure (April 2015)
- Listed in Collaborate Magazine’s list of the Top 12 Foodie Cities for Meetings
Nashville is centrally located for a relatively short drive or flight from anywhere in the US and should have ample options for accommodation. The city won the bid to host the WordCamp out of six applicants and Matt Mullenweg’s announcement post indicates that there were multiple local communities capable of hosting the event in the future.
“Based on the other great applications we got I’m also excited about the pipeline of communities that could host it in future years as WordCamp US travels across the United States and gives us an opportunity to learn and love a new city, as we have with Philadelphia,” Mullenweg said.
That is way too many attendees for a conference IMO. I think WCEU ’16 was too big.