So the blog has been a little neglected over the summer. My apologies, but there’s been a tonne of stuff going on! Here’s an update on the main time vampire of the summer; Barcamp Blackpool 2012.
After regularly attending #geekupthetower for the last 12 months or so, I decided that I’d team up with the organiser (@biglesp) to help get this year’s Barcamp Blackpool going, as last year’s organiser (@ruby_gem) was passing on the baton. I didn’t realise at the time, just quite what I’d let myself in for!
The majority of the planning was slow and steady, getting sponsors, sorting out a bank account, finding a venue, organising the food and then all of a sudden it was 2 weeks before the actual event was meant to be happening and I’m not going to lie, I panicked! Les and I had a number of planning meetings, with all sorts of people from the Blackpool LUG to the venue, as well as with a lot of the #geekupthetower folk. With a week left to go, we still weren’t 100% on what the rules about PAT testing were, we weren’t 100% sure what equipment we had to provide for ourselves and we had no idea what the food on the day was going to taste like! That’s a lot of uncertainty when you have sponsors to represent and 150 people coming to your event. With a final shove, we nailed down the final details with literally 48 hours to go, massive props to Les here for holding down a full time job and keeping Mrs P happy whilst I sent message after message asking what we were doing about bunting and cakes and name badges and balls of string!
The schedule for the day was a little different to previous years, as we wanted more of a “do” for the evening as we had the wonderful 20lb coming up from Liverpool to play, as well as Alex Martindale doing a comedy routine. We had talks throughout most of the day, despite the fact I made a little mistake on the board and forgot to fill in the closing talks slot so people put their talks in there and we had a bit of last minute shuffling around to do! As with any event, things go wrong; we struggled to get people checked in as the registration area wasn’t immediately obvious to people who wanted to just walk in and dump their stuff, the coffee was naff so I had to get my Mum to do a last minute run to Asda to get some decent tea and coffee, the projector died during the opening talk so we had to do without and get the lovely Dan Lynch to jump in as AV for the day, and I’m sure there were many more little issues that we’ve learnt from and will do differently next year (yes, I think I’m mad enough to do it again).
In the 72 hours before the event I baked and iced 162 cakes and 70 biscuits, had a mad dash to the supermarket to buy power adaptors, had 2 meetings with the venue and one HUGE meal and a few drinks at the pre-drinks, so I was thoroughly knackered on the day, apologies to those who I didn’t get to talk to, but I hope you had a brilliant day! Things are really different on the side of the organisers, and the enjoyment comes not from going to talks, but from seeing other people appreciating and enjoying your hard work. So to all of you who said something nice about us, gave us a smile or an offer of help with a difficult or boring job, to those that offered advice on what bank account to apply for and how to get the wifi working to it’s best, a massive thank you, because although Les & I are the organisers, we couldn’t have done it without you.
I’m really proud of what we achieved, and there are loads of little improvements I’d like to make for next year, many of which have been reiterated on our feedback form. If you haven’t already done it, please take a minute to let us know what you thought of the event and the venue etc. as your input is what helps us to improve it.
Finally, a MASSIVE thanks to all our sponsors. This year they were so much more than the guys and girls that gave us money. They also provided advise, equipment and knowledge on top of the venue, wifi, food, drink, cake and fun!
See you next year!