WordCamp US Seeks New Host City for 2022

The search for a host city for WordCamp US 2022 is now underway with what WordPress community organizer Angela Jin calls “big changes” to the selection process. Unlike previous years where WordPress communities applied after researching venues and demonstrating activity and interest, community leadership plans to conduct its own city search.

“We all felt that requesting applications from local WordPress communities today would place an undue burden on volunteers,” Jin said. “Risk evaluation and forecasting feasibility of an in-person flagship [event] requires a professional events management team.”

WCUS lost money in deposits made for the event in 2020 after it was cancelled due to the pandemic. It was supposed to be held in St. Louis another year but the organizing team has decided to make a fresh start on the planning.

“When WordCamp US 2020 was canceled, we did explore moving the venue contract in St. Louis forward,” Jin said. “The negotiations didn’t lead to anything we felt was in the best interest of the WordPress community, however, so we did cancel the contract and we lost some venue deposits.” 

Jin said WordCamp US is one of the biggest venue contracts they manage and it made sense to bring in a professional events management team to negotiate with potential venues, given all the uncertainty surrounding in-person events right now.

“They will be a part of the organizing team and help facilitate venue logistics,” Jin said. “Venue logistics at this scale tends to be difficult and invisible. Having a professional events team frees up our volunteer organizers to focus more on community-facing tasks. For now, though, the focus is finding and negotiating with the venue.”

WCUS may or may not continue with hosting the event in the same city for two years, depending on the relationship with the venue.

“We’re asking for bids for 2022, with an option to propose for 2023,” Jin said. “A big part of the decision making this year is whether or not the venue will be a partner to the WCUS organizing team. For example, if we do need to cancel, we hope to see any loss minimized. On the other hand, if the situation improves, a venue that offers flexibility to help us host a larger event than we currently anticipate would be amazing.” 

Jin would not reveal which cities are under consideration for WCUS 2022 but said the team is including local communities that applied to host the event in 2020. She said many of those organizers are still interested and enthusiastic about hosting the event.

The community team plans to put out a call for organizers in mid-November and will extend the call to more local organizers once the host city has been chosen.

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6 responses to “WordCamp US Seeks New Host City for 2022”

  1. Sally G. says:

    Thanks for the update; this sounds like a well-thought-out plan. Still lots of uncertainty, so expert help makes sense.

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  2. Bud Kraus says:

    Can someone please define what the role of a “professional event management team” would do? Would such an organization take over all of the roles traditionally held by the community? I would hope it would be limited in scope as it would seem to be as stated in this post.

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    • I think it’s just for negotiating the venue so they don’t lose a lot of money on it in the event of a cancellation, but we can find out.

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    • I updated the post with that information: Angela Jin said, “They will be a part of the organizing team and help facilitate venue logistics. Venue logistics at this scale tends to be difficult and invisible. Having a professional events team frees up our volunteer organizers to focus more on community-facing tasks. For now, though, the focus is finding and negotiating with the venue.”

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  3. Jeff Safire says:

    This sounds like a good idea. However, I am not a fan of holding WCUS in the same city for two consecutive years. Obviously, it is more efficient for the sake of volunteers’ time, but it puts a burden – both time and money – on people traveling cross-country, especially from one coast to the other. While also obvious that travel does take time, coast to coast travel costs developers two whole days. Asking those devs to do so two years in a row just doesn’t seem fair. And it’s not just coast to coast travel; there are many long nearly cross-country hauls that take most of an entire day. Anyway, that’s my opinion about the “double-year” venue planning.

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  4. To tell the truth, I think it is really important to find the most suitable place for holding WCUS and I really hope that it will be implemented in the best possible way. It is so sad that this event was cancelled due to the pandemic, but, unfortunately, a lot of scheduled events faced such a state of affairs and were forced to postpone it until better times. I am so glad that this time is now and you have an opportunity to implement everything into a reality. For me, it is better to hold WCUS 2022 in a new place because it has a range of advantages and I don’t really like this tradition to be a hostage of one place, but, of course, it is connected with a lot of factors. I really hope that WCUS will be able to realize it remarkably.

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