Another successful edition of WordCamp Europe concluded this weekend in Berlin. The event was the largest WordCamp in history, with 3,260 tickets sold and 2,734 attendees present on the ground. WCEU sold 800 more tickets than the previous year in Belgrade. Contributor Day gathered 611 attendees into 25 teams, and approximately 28% of them (169 attendees) were new WordPress contributors.
Smiling faces of awesome people at Contributor Day #WCEU 2019 😁We had 25 teams, and 611 signed up to give back to #WordPress today, of which 169 said they were new contributors. Thank you! 💙 pic.twitter.com/P7W7Ocl0lw
— WordCamp Europe (@WCEurope) June 20, 2019
To cap off the conference, attendees enjoyed a lively celebration Saturday night, donning vintage outfits for an 80’s themed after party at the venue. The party included a controversial show that some attendees found offensive and unwelcoming. WCEU organizers have addressed this issue in a post. According to WordPress community organizer Andrea Middleton, “that part of the show did not match the expectations that they had set with the venue, and was a disappointing surprise.”
A glimpse of swiss #WordCamp ‘s organisers in 80ies look for the #WCEU after-party yesterday. With @neverything and @andrew_liyanage @wp_switzerland upcoming #wczrh and @wpgva pic.twitter.com/yzBgxndopK
— Patricia BT (@PatriciaBT70) June 23, 2019
— Pieter Daalder (@w1zz) June 22, 2019
Despite the controversial after party show, the event received mostly positive feedback and many attendees reported that it was “best WCEU” they had ever attended.
In addition to breaking records as the largest WordCamp in history, organizers report that the majority of ticket holders (56%) were first time WCEU attendees.
“Berlin is an amazing city and by far one of the most popular locations for remote work in Europe,” 2019 global lead Milan Ivanovic said. “When we add on top the strong German community, with WordCamps across the country and four monthly WordPress meetups in Berlin alone, it was a no brainer that we would have a sold-out event. We also had an amazing line-up of speakers with 3 tracks and 3 workshops, along with on-time information shared to our attendees.”
WordCamp Europe 2020 to be Held in Porto, Portugal
At the conclusion of the event, organizers announced that next year WCEU is coming to Porto, June 4-6. Porto is Portugal’s second largest city, known for its beautiful beaches, port wine exports, bridges, vineyards, charming cobblestone streets, and affordability. It also has a vibrant and growing WordPress community. Portugal is home to Zé Fontainhas, one of the original creators of WordCamp Europe.
Jose Freitas, who will be heading up the local team in Portugal, has been working with WordPress since 2008 and has been involved with the community since 2013. He said the Portuguese WordPress community has been working on its application to host WCEU for three years.
“We are thrilled to have WCEU in Porto next year,” Freitas said. “Portugal is indeed a small country but we have a good WordPress community. At Porto we have had a monthly WordPress Meetup since January 2014, without failing a month. WordPress is growing quickly in Portugal and every day we have people joining our community.”
The greater community is connected on Facebook through the WordPress Portugal group, which has more than 4,400 members.
“We found that for some people, mostly beginners, it’s difficult to start using the support forums,” Freitas said. “So we made a Facebook group and people can ask questions and receive help or feedback related to their projects. Most of the users are people that made their own websites and websites for non profit organizations.”
Up until now, Portugal has hosted one WordCamp per year, alternating between Porto and Lisbon locations. Following 2020, local organizers plan to host two camps per year, and WC Lisboa is expected to be scheduled for October 2020.
The Porto community had formidable competition in its journey to securing the opportunity to host WCEU 2020, beating out Athens, Granada, Manchester, and Torino. Freitas attributes his team’s success to its dedication to improving Porto’s application for the past three years, following a disappointing attempt in 2016.
“First it was only a dream,” Freitas said. “After, it was what if… We applied the first time in 2016 to WCEU 2017. We were in the final decision but the event went to Paris, as we all know. So we started right then the application to 2020.
“We made it better, stronger, complete with all the new requirements. Each WCEU was getting something new and in each one we added the new thing to our documentation. We made a strict budget, with realistic numbers in all parameters. I think that was important for the people who made the selection.”
WCEU 2020 sessions will be held in English. Freitas said the majority of Portuguese people have a good understanding of English and most in the WordPress community are fluent in both languages.
The maximum capacity for the venue is 8,000 people. WCEU’s arrangement for 2020 allows attendance to go up to 4,000, in case the event has another record-breaking year.
“We have a wonderful venue in the city center and surrounded by a garden and a balcony with amazing views of the river and part of the city,” Freitas said.
WCEU 2019 local lead Bernhard Kau will be joining the 2020 team as the global lead to provide a smooth transition from one year to the next. Attendees can expect some of the successful aspects of the 2019 event to make a return at next year’s WCEU.
“The additions of WP Cafe and Wellness at WCEU were a big success and I would love to have more space for them at WordCamp Europe 2020 in Porto,” Kau said. “There are also some other ideas helping attendees staying healthy, both physically and mentally.
“As I have never been to Portugal, I am very excited to visit another country. I have met some members of the Portuguese Community on WordCamps throughout Europe and they are some of the most friendly people you can find.”
For those who are considering adding WCEU 2020 in Porto to their calendars, Freitas offered a preview of what attendees can expect:
Imagine yourself… it is June, 3, 2020. There’s one day to go before WCEU.
You go to the city center to know a little of the city. You walk in small and narrow streets and find that some of those have a history of more that a thousand years. You ask some directions, because you don’t want to use smartphone maps, and people are nice and even offer to take you to the place that is only 500 meters way.
You go to the very old part of the city and realize that it wasn’t changed for many, many years. It was not changed because people didn’t want to and because now it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site.
You sit near the river and look at the bridge designed and build by a student of Eiffel (yep, that Eiffel). The sun has made the Douro river look like silver and you finally get why the Romans gave the name of Porto (port) to the place.
It’s time to lunch some tasty and delightful Portuguese food. Don’t skip the dessert. To burn some calories you’ll go to the check the venue.
You pass the old Reitoria building (the place were the university principal used to work) – Porto has the biggest Portuguese university – and see a garden with trees, flowers and even some peacocks.
You enter there and find the way to the venue: it looks like the top of a spaceship, like the ones in the movies. There’s a banner: “WordCamp Europe 2020.”
Now you feel that you’re only a few hours away from the moment you have been waiting for. But, let’s go because you have to see other parts of the city.
The next day, you join hundreds of WordPress people who are helping the community in Contributor Day. There is a lot to do before the two conference days and workshops, before visiting the sponsors area, before meeting some of the nice folks that you didn’t see since last year, before making new friends.
After all, it’s possible to make new friends in an event of thousands of people.
WordCamp Europe is made possible every year by a massive team of organizers and volunteers who help keep costs low, in addition to sponsors.
— WordCamp Europe (@WCEurope) June 22, 2019
The 2020 team put out the call for organizers after announcing the host city. In the first 24 hours, the team has already received 30 applications. The deadline to apply is July 15, 2019. Calls for sponsors, volunteers, and speakers will come after organizers are selected, as the year-round work of organizing WCEU continues again for 2020.