WCEU brings us back to in-person WordPress events

WCEU 2022 was a real blast

I wasn’t dreaming. Right?

I still can’t believe I was in Porto during the first week of June. I enjoyed the amazing city, went sightseeing, spent time with my colleagues, and was part of WordCamp Europe 2022.

We were ready to gaze at the stars the first time we started organizing this event. Preparations had started, and then the pandemic just hit us hard. For all people’s safety and health, we needed to postpone the event to 2020 and go for an online solution.

WordCamp Europe in Porto remained a dream during 2021, too. We weren’t so positive thinking if we would ever come back to in-person events. Was it hard? Oh yes. Many people started feeling bored with online events. We all needed some human contact.

Happy birthday WCEU!

This was the 10th anniversary of WordCamp Europe, so we had to celebrate it and make a big fuss. Cheers to the next years to come.

The wishes are for all those people who have been organizing the event since it first started. They offered their valuable time and skillset for this. The same applies to all the sponsors, speakers, and volunteers that have supported these efforts.

But mostly we had to celebrate and send our wishes to all the attendees.

Without all of you, there wouldn’t be any WordCamp Europe.

So, Happy 10th WCEU Anniversary to all of us.

It’s all about the people. Never forget that.

Venue

Have you seen a venue that looks like a UFO? I hadn’t seen one until we got more familiarized with the venue of WCEU 2022. Super Bock Arena – Pavilhão Rosa Mota was simply marvellous.

The beautiful gardens, Jardins do Palácio de Cristal are surrounding the venue. The gardens are full of peacocks trying to mate all day long (it was either mating season or they’re extremely active in flirting).

The captivating park also includes a lake, sculptures, and benches. It invites you to spend your day right in the heart of Porto while feeling you’re part of nature.

The venue itself was renovated 2 years ago and waiting to host WCEU.

Contributor Day

Amazing things happened during the 1st day of the conference.

800 people contributed to WordPress, which set up a new record, and we’re all extremely excited about that.

20 teams were working for us to witness WordPress in the making. While on the other part of the venue, the sponsors’ were setting up their booths for the main event.

I think this has been the most successful Contributor Day so far. Let’s get the WCEU party started!

Community Social Event

Every WordCamp has a social event one day prior. This way the sponsors, speakers, organizers, media partners, and volunteers can meet and know each other a bit better. It helps a lot not to feel awkward, and it’s easier to accomplish their tasks during WordCamp Europe. The local team selected an impressive venue right on the sea. While we got acquainted, we took also a glimpse of the local traditions and folklore dances.

We didn’t leave the party early but we weren’t the last people standing which is a bummer.

The Greekz are for sure grateful for the experience. I can only say that we did ride a tuk-tuk on our way back from the Community Social. It was a hell of a ride! I’m still laughing, and most probably so does our driver.

I would share a video of this experience, but it contains too much screaming and laughter in greek. Please, don’t judge. :p

To be honest, no one was harmed in the making of this video though. But our tuk-tuk driver felt part of “The Fast & the Furious” team.

I know this is not the kind of recap people expect. Whatever happens on the tuk-tuk stays on the tuk-tuk.

Main Event, Networking, WP Cafe

I had bad hair days for sure during WCEU. I can’t blame the weather that my hair is always messy, which concludes to not many decent photos. However, I had a delightful time. I am thankful for meeting friends I hadn’t seen for a long while since 2018 and making new friends.

Networking in WCEU is a must.

In fact, WP Cafe has been designed specifically for networking. And every year, it gets even better, thanks to the Community team.

On the other hand, my bad hair days are usually a result of my lack of time. Or maybe I still have no idea how to manage it better. I even did my makeup on the spot in the media rooms before the interviews started on the first day. I had a bit of a toothache, but I still have all my teeth.

For those that missed WordCamp Europe 2022, we live-streamed the event through YouTube. Moreover, the live stream studio idea was born to make everyone feel they were part of the event. We wanted to help them feel the WordPress Community vibes as if they were present. We decided last minute to have interviews with community members and organizers between the talks. That was absolutely fun. We kept it as a surprise to everyone watching us from home.

The organizing team is already uploading the talks’ videos on WordPress.tv. But while this is in progress you can watch them through the official YouTube channel of WCEU. Find the links below:

And if you want to talk about numbers and statistics, this event amazed us.

Proud to lead the PR Team

This year, as an organizer, I led the PR team. PR Team is responsible for sharing out there and spreading the word about WCEU all around the world.

As most people already know, it was a tough year organizing WCEU. The organizing team was outnumbered compared to the previous years; we published the Call for Organizers twice but still not enough people came forward. We didn’t have the time to invite others to come on board. Therefore most of the organizing team members didn’t have experience in organizing WordPress flagship events like WCEU, which are far bigger than the local ones.

One of these cases was also the PR team. For all team members except myself, it was their first participation as organizers of WordCamp Europe for the first time. And they did an amazing job. The coverage we got for the event wouldn’t be a reality without these people and their hard work.

We’ve worked together for almost a year, and I couldn’t be happier and more proud.

All of them are active members of the WordPress Community of their countries and, at the same time, contributors.

Thanking them just once is never enough

I want to grab this opportunity to thank them again for all the help, and hard work. They brought new ideas, brainstormed, communicated, implemented innovations, and gave their best self.

Big kudos and thanks to my Kostas Vrouvas from the WordPress Greek Community. He has been the Head of Budget for 3 local WordCamps. At the same time, he’s a meetup organizer and contributor for several teams. This year he agreed to leave the budget aside even though he always enjoys it. And I value that he did it to support the PR team and give me a hand.

Appreciations also to Afshana Diya. She’s a Community deputy and was also part of the incident response team to keep WCEU a safe place. While she traveled from Bangladesh to Porto to be part of the event.

Gratitude to Tiago Vasconcelos. He led our communications with Portuguese media outlets and RTP, the Portuguese national TV. He was eager to help in every aspect, taking over from Marco Almeida, originally in this role in 2020.

Thanking Silva Nazarian for bringing her hard work, enthusiasm, and smile to the team. Being always available and fulfilling tasks in a timely manner.

Last but not least, kudos to Reyes Martinez. She agreed to contribute her time as an offer from her company. At that point, we were outnumbered and couldn’t bring our best results. We needed help and there she was. She rocked our world, being so focused and well organized. Most importantly, she kept asking the best questions during meetings or in-slack.

Muito obrigada, Portugal, to the local team, and to the whole organizing team

Porto showed us their hospitality and acquainted us with Portuguese culture and traditions. The Municipality of Porto invited us to get to know Porto better and their exceptional wines, in a relaxing atmosphere. The Turismo de Portugal (ministry of Tourism) was, throughout the whole preparation, a great help and support. The local organizers gave their best and their hearts to this event, being an inspiration to us all.

I can’t even mention the names of all the people that have been of great assistance during all these months. They all worked to create an outstanding comeback for the WordPress-related events to in-person setups. I should write down at least all the names of the organizers to acknowledge, respect, and cherish their input. WCEU 2022 was an event created by the WordPress Community for the WordPress Community, and it truly rocked our world.

We’re still wrapping up, so stay tuned for more news through the official channels of WordCamp Europe. But I can still say this was an unforgettable experience. How can I forget the people that made it real?

See you next year in ATHENS, GREECE!

It was the moment we’d been waiting for a long in the WordPress Greek Community. The Athens team has worked hard to apply to host WCEU. Therefore, when we got the word, it must have been the best news. I’m always proud of my hardworking team. They’re all dear friends, or I should say family, after all the experiences we’ve shared.

During the main event, people were betting on Athens being the next host. Most of them had a hint, so I am not that confident it was indeed a surprise for everyone. Whereas it did make my eyes wet watching the video Kostas Vrouvas and Takis have been working on for hours, on the WCEU screen on stage.

My selection as a Global Lead feels like a huge responsibility and honor at the same time. But all 4 of us, including Takis Bouyouris, who’ll be leading the local team, will give it our best shot.

We do need your help, though.

Go ahead and apply to the Call for Organizers.

Be part of this awesome event. WCEU gathers people from all around the world for the biggest so far WordCamp around the globe. Join us, experience the backstage, gain new skills and be part of the huge WCEU family.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Athens for WordCamp Europe 2023.

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