It’s been three year. Three years after we had our last WordCamp Europe with attendees meeting in person, 2019 in Berlin. Back then I was the Local Lead and joined the next organizing team as one of three Global Leads. Then the pandemic changed the world and WordCamps became online events. While this year’s WCEU was not the first in person event, it was the biggest one, and it felt – almost – as in the past.
My first trip to Portugal
In 2020, I was supposed to visit Porto to see the venue we would use for WCEU 2020, but the pandemic hit us all, and we moved the WordCamp online and cancelled all local organizing work. Then this year in February there was another venue visit, this time for the new organizing team, but unfortunately I got COVID just some days before that. So on Monday, 30 May, I finally made it to Portugal for the first time.
Preparing the event
On Tuesday, I had the chance to get a first view of the amazing venue, the Super Bock Arena – Pavilhão Rosa Mota. The crew was already preparing the expo area and the screen for track 1:
I had also the chance to meet some members of the organizing team for the first time in person and had lunch with some of them. As most things were already done or managed by the various teams, I had some time on Wednesday evening to visit the “Pirate Party” including a cruise on the river:
Kicking it off with the Contributor Day
Like many other WordCamps we also had a Contributor Day organized on Thursday.
The Contributor Day took place in front of the stage of track 1. We had around 800 contributors, many of them first time contributors. This was a new record for any WordCamp!
The first conference day
Friday was the first day with talks and workshops. The contributing tables were replaced by seating for the talks:
Unfortunately, I couldn’t see any talks on the first day. Only the first a half of Maja’s talk, before I had to rush out for some organizing work to be done.
Just as in Berlin in 2019 we had more than just talks and workshops. We continued with the “Wellness Track”, offering yoga and meditation in the beautiful park around the venue, had the WP Café format where attendees could discuss topics, and we even had a live-streaming studio. Here we had interviews with different people from the event, which were live-streamed to the feed of track 1 in the breaks between talks. I also had the chance to be interviewed in one break:
The second conference day
Saturday was the last day of WordCamp Europe. That day usually flies by pretty fast for organizers. At the end of the day we had around 2304 attendees in Porto and just before lunch many of them came together for a family photo:
After this talk, it was time for the closing remarks. We had 91 organizers and 164 volunteers helping us making this all possible and having a great in-person event:
As always, we announced the city for the next WordCamp Europe at the end of the closing remarks and welcomed the new team …
WordCamp Europe 2022 Athens
Next year, the WordPress community will meet in Athens, Greece! Another country I have not yet visited.
Time to “hang my hat”
For me, this was the last WordCamp Europe as an organizer. I’ve joined the team back in 2017 and only took a break last year for the second online edition. Following the “tradition” of being a Local Lead and then a Global Lead, I will probably be speaking next year, maybe sharing the stage with my fellow Global Leads from 2020 and 2022. As much as I loved organizing all these events, it’s time to make room for new community members to step up and join the team. I’m very much looking forward to what the WCEU 2023 crew will surprise us with!