If your work revolves around WordPress in any way, you must’ve definitely heard of WordCamps. WordCamps are popular flagship events of the WordPress community. Since last year, I’ve taken part in multiple iconic WordCamps, including WC Asia, WC Kerala, and more.
Last week, I attended WordCamp Bhopal, which will always hold a special place in my heart. Why, you ask? Well, not only was it organized in my city, but besides being a participant, I was also the organizer and the panel moderator at this sensational event!
In this blog post, I’m going to share my experience as a WordCamp attendee as well as part of their organizing team. Wondering why I joined as an organizer? What did I learn from this new experience? Should you also attend WordCamps or volunteer for them?
Don’t worry. I’m going to answer all of your questions in this blog. So, with no more ado, let’s get right into our article!
- What is WordCamp?
- About WordCamp Bhopal
- My Experience as a WordCamp Bhopal Participant
- Affordable Event Passes
- OpenVerse Walk @ Van Vihar National Park
- Open-Source Contributions at Contributor Day
- VIP Welcome Dinner
- Conference Day @ Radisson Hotel
- Food, Snacks, and Delicacies
- Enlightening Speaker Sessions
- Hands-On Workshops
- “Fireside Chat” Panel Discussion
- Eco-Friendly Free Swags
- Fun-Filled After Party
- WordCamp Bhopal Media Coverage
- My Experience as a WordCamp Bhopal Organizer
- Why Did I Join WordCamp as an Organizer?
- Would I Organize a WordCamp Again?
- Pros of WordCamp Bhopal
- Cons of WordCamp Bhopal
- Tips for Future WordCamp Attendees
What is WordCamp?
WordCamp is a popular networking event organized by the WordPress community for the WordPress community! It’s a 2-day offline event featuring speaker sessions by influential content creators, workshops for learning new skills, and tonnes of networking opportunities.
WordCamp participants get the chance to interact with fellow members of the WordPress community and learn valuable tips and strategies from them. It’s a highly impactful and insightful event for WordPress bloggers, developers, designers, and enthusiasts.
About WordCamp Bhopal
WordCamp Bhopal was held on the 7th and 8th of October, 2023, covering multiple venues. It was supported by 24 sponsors, 11 organizers, and 12 volunteers, and over 300 participants joined the event.
Apart from that, 16 eloquent speakers graced the event stage to share their learnings and insights on a diverse range of topics. Overall, WordCamp Bhopal completely outlived our expectations and turned out to be a grand success!
My Experience as a WordCamp Bhopal Participant
First off, I’m going to talk about the entire WordCamp Bhopal event from the perspective of an attendee. Let’s quickly get into the details.
Affordable Event Passes
The registration for WordCamp Bhopal had begun a month back and the ticket price was around ₹600. It basically covered all the events along with breakfast, lunch, dinner, afterparty, and lots of free swags! But how were the ticket prices kept so low? Keep reading to find out!
OpenVerse Walk @ Van Vihar National Park
So, the event commenced on 7th October 2023, when 80+ attendees joined us for an early morning OpenVerse Walk. We were taken to Van Vihar, which is an astonishing national park amidst the natural beauty.
Situated by the side of a lake, this popular place exudes a calm and peaceful ambiance, which makes it the perfect spot for a walk! The plush, wide roads encircling this park are best for walking, cycling, and jogging.
The primary aim of this walk was to experience the calmness and beauty of nature alongside making some connections with all the participants. We saw some warm friendships, bondings, and networking during this walk.
It ended with an appetizing breakfast of Poha Jalebi and Kullad Chai, which is a popular snack in Central India!
Open-Source Contributions at Contributor Day
Next, we had the Contributor Day scheduled on the same day from 12 P.M onwards. The venue for this session was Zappian Media’s office, which is a performance marketing company.
Contributor Day is a session where participants make contributions to the open-source WordPress platforms. The participants were divided into various teams, namely Support, Photos, Polyglots, Documentation, etc.
Personally, we were expecting around 50 people to join us. But to our surprise, a whopping 130+ people showed up! Thankfully, Zappian Media’s office was quite spacious, and we were able to accommodate the crowd.
The office space was really cool and all the proper arrangements were made. The attendees had an amazing experience at this event. Post this, we had a scrumptious lunch as well!
VIP Welcome Dinner
Then, on the night of 7th October, a was arranged for the speakers, sponsors, and organizers of WordCamp Bhopal.
Here, we got to meet and connect with everyone who was part of the WordCamp team and it was such a pleasant experience. It turned out to be a peaceful and enjoyable dinner filled with lots of networking, conversations, and good vibes.
Conference Day @ Radisson Hotel
The main event, i.e. the Conference Day, was scheduled for 8th October at Radisson Hotel.
First off, the attendees would visit the registration desk to get their passes. Next was the networking area, where the sponsors had put up their booths. Attendees could walk up and communicate with them, form new connections, share contacts, and get exclusive deals and free swags!
Then, there was a passage that led to the main hall where the speaker sessions were organized. They were divided into two parts:
- Track 1, where the speaker sessions were held.
- Track 2, where workshops were being conducted.
The attendees could choose the sessions they wanted to attend according to the timings. Between the Networking Booths and the Main Hall was the Networking Space. Here, participants could just relax and recharge, catch up with others, and have casual conversations!
Many photo booths were also placed where people clicked a lot of selfies and group photos and shared them on social media.
Food, Snacks, and Delicacies
There was a separate food section where breakfast and lunch were arranged for the participants. The morning breakfast had delectable snacks like idlis, parathas, tea, and other savories!
The lunch was a properly arranged buffet with plenty of fulfilling dishes. Evening tea and snacks were provided as well.
Enlightening Speaker Sessions
Many influential speakers were invited to WordCamp from diverse fields to speak about major content creation topics. It started with the session “Do more with your WordPress website” by Amit Kumar Singh, where he demonstrated ways to get the most value out of your WordPress website.
There were engaging sessions presented by Vachan Kudmule, Shivya Roy, Imran Khan, Kishan Jasani, and many more speakers, all focused on WordPress, security, eCommerce, and content creation. They shared tonnes of insights and the listeners found them truly enriching.
On Track 2, there were some really interesting workshops conducted by WordPress experts. It had a really insightful session by Arun R Shenoy on “Crafting Creativity: From Thoughts to Design with Figma”.
In this session, he illustrated Figma’s dynamic capabilities and also demonstrated the process of creating polished designs with it.
There were two more workshops conducted by Prathamesh Palve and Pooja Derashri on WP-CLI and Custom Block theme creation, respectively! All of these sessions were highly engaging and provided a lot of value to the attendees.
“Fireside Chat” Panel Discussion
The final session at the event was the “Fireside Chat” panel session with content creators. We had popular content creators like Satish Kushwaha from YouTube, Damini Tripathi from Instagram, and Dhairya Gangwani from LinkedIn.
I was the host and moderator for this discussion. We discussed a range of topics, including content creation strategies, monetization models, tips and strategies for audience engagement, the future of content creation, and more.
This was the first time I was moderating a discussion, and it was a new and unique experience for me as well. Not only did I get to learn so much from these creators, but hosting a panel really boosted my confidence and enhanced my presentation skills!
Eco-Friendly Free Swags
Following up on the theme of sustainability, WordCamp Bhopal distributed free swags carrying the same message. Participants were gifted with eco-friendly tote bags with the mesmerizing WordCamp Bhopal Logo.
Even the pens that they provided at the event were recyclable. They had plantable seeds within them. So you could plant them into a flowerpot and watch them grow into a plant! That’s pretty cool. Apart from that, notebooks and temperature water bottles were also offered!
Some really cool swags were offered by sponsors too! Bluehost distributed water bottles, YouStable offered some cool t-shirts, and Elicus offered elegant cups! There were more gifts and swags offered by other sponsors as well!
Fun-Filled After Party
After the event concluded, the afterparty began! And I must say, it was totally lit! The DJ was super chill, and the attendees were a really interactive and fun crowd! Everyone had a lot of fun and ended up making lots of connections.
Overall, the ambiance was great. This was easily one of the best after-parties I’ve attended at a conference.
WordCamp Bhopal Media Coverage
After the event concluded, the social media was literally flooded with WordCamp Bhopal pictures. The attendees couldn’t stop posting their selfies and group pictures, sharing their exciting experiences.
It was such a delight to witness the event covered by popular newspapers like Nai Duniya, Patrika, Navbharat, etc. WordCamp Bhopal grabbed the spotlight, thanks to the contributions of the amazing sponsors, speakers, organizers, volunteers, and enthusiastic participants!
My Experience as a WordCamp Bhopal Organizer
Now, let me tell you about my experience as a WordCamp Organizer. Well, the preparation for this started way back in July. I met the team at a WordPress meet-up where the discussion for WordCamp took place.
Initially, I had no plans to actively engage in the event. I was just looking forward to meeting new people and sharing my experiences with them. But eventually, I decided to explore this new opportunity, and this is how the journey began.
It was full of challenging experiences, but the biggest challenge was arranging the entire event at a super-affordable price. Even though WordCamp Bhopal is not as popular as WordCamp Mumbai, Delhi, or even Asia, we managed to make it a grand success!
Embed from Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/p/CybXs5cNv6C/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
How? The secret is that we were super prudent with the expenses. For instance, where most other events charge a sum of around 1.5 lacs from the sponsors, we merely requested an investment of 60k! All of this cost-cutting was done to ensure that the participants had the best experience.
I would love to extend a special thanks to the sponsors of this event along with all the organizers, volunteers, and speakers. Because of your efforts and contributions, we were able to make this event a huge hit within a tight budget! 🙂
Why Did I Join WordCamp as an Organizer?
“To earn some money” is what most people would think! But let me tell you, nobody linked with these events gets any money! Be it sponsors, volunteers, organizers, or speakers, nobody is paid any money for their efforts.
All of them voluntarily join WordCamp to contribute their learnings and experiences to the community. They are not even offered any special facilities like hotel stays, etc. So, contributing to these open-source events is in a way contributing to WordPress.
Talking about myself, I was initially not interested in actively engaging as an organizer in WordCamp. But Aditya has a vision of taking this event to a bigger level. He had been a speaker at WordCamp Asia and believed we could arrange an event at that level in Bhopal.
This really motivated me! I was born and brought up in Bhopal. After attending dozens of affiliate conferences and WordCamps in the last few years, I really wanted my city to host one such grand event that people all over the country talk about!
Another reason was the undying curiosity I had for learning new things! I had never organized an event at that level in my entire life. So, I was really curious to experience how that’s done. I wanted to witness the efforts and teamwork that went into the background of arranging these WordCamps.
WordCamp Bhopal presented itself as a great opportunity to learn these event management and organization skills. So, eventually, when my vision aligned with the team, I finally decided to join as an organizer.
Would I Organize a WordCamp Again?
Honestly, I may not! I had a fantastic experience working as a WordCamp organizer. However, I wouldn’t want to do it again because it consumes a lot of time. I may not have the bandwidth to contribute that much time in the future.
As of now, my motive to experience WordCamp from the organizers’ perspective is fulfilled. If in the coming years, an event of a much bigger level is organized in my city, I may think about joining the team. But at the moment, I feel like I’ve learned and experienced all that I wanted to!
Pros of WordCamp Bhopal
1) Great Networking Opportunities
To ensure that the attendees had all the opportunities to network, we organized multiple events during the 2-day session. We also diversified the speaker session topics to cater to the interests of all participants.
2) Super Affordable
The ticket prices of WordCamp Bhopal were kept extremely affordable to enable everyone to join this event. The ticket included free breakfast, lunch, dinner, and access to the after-party as well.
We basically tried to provide a wholesome experience at a negligible price and were successful in making this dream a reality!
3) Lots of Freebies
Following the theme of sustainability, WordCamp Bhopal distributed eco-friendly tote bags and plantable seed pens to the attendees. Notebooks, water bottles, cups, and various other free swags were also distributed by our sponsors.
4) Delicious Snacks
Whether it was the poha jalebi and chai in the breakfast, or the loaded buffet lunch in the afternoon, each meal at WordCamp Bhopal was scrumptious and super appetizing!
5) Enlightening Speaker Sessions
The speaker sessions at WordCamp Bhopal were power-packed with enriching insights. Our esteemed speakers shared their experiences and strategies with the participants to help them grow their online businesses and blogs.
The panel discussion with popular content creators also created a lot of value for the attendees.
6) Happening After Party
WordCamp Bhopal arranged the most phenomenal and iconic afterparties that I’ve ever been to at any other formal event. Besides excellent networking and bonding, people really enjoyed themselves to the fullest!
Cons of WordCamp Bhopal
1) Lunch Arrangements Could Be Improved
It was a sunny afternoon, and the lunch was arranged outside with no shades. This made it slightly inconvenient for the attendees to peacefully have their lunch. Because of limited funds, we had to trade off 30 minutes of inconvenience to provide an overall wholesome experience!
2) Larger Student Crowd
I feel that the student crowd in such networking events should be between 10 to 15%. However, at WordCamp Bhopal, around 30% of the crowd accounted for college students. Fortunately, they were quite interactive and blended in well with all the other participants.
Tips for Future WordCamp Attendees
If you’re planning to attend WordCamps in the future, here’s something you should know. Not all WordCamps are the same!
If you attend global events like the Affiliate World, IAS, etc, you’ll notice that they work in the same format every year. For instance, check out the AW Barcelona event!
Everything, from their schedule to the event structure, is pre-decided. A major reason is that the organizers of these events are pretty much the same every year!
However, WordCamps don’t work that way. They are community-organized events, which means they’re dynamic. The format and structure of the event depend on the organizing committee.
Thus, you cannot judge a WordCamp by the one you previously attended. Each WordCamp is always going to be significantly different depending on the team behind the event.
WordCamp Bhopal successfully raised the standard of WordCamp events across the country. The speaker sessions, the delicious food, the networking booths, and the after-party, everything were exceptionally well organized. Without a doubt, it was the best WordCamp I’d attended this year!
As a participant, as an organizer, and as a panel moderator, I got to learn a tonne of new things through this event. We faced a lot of challenges as part of the organizing team, but it ultimately turned out to be amazing.
So, that was all about my personal experience. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Anyway, did you attend WordCamp Bhopal? I’d love to know your experiences in the comments section below. And if you couldn’t, make sure to subscribe to my blog, where I list all the future event updates.
This is Kripesh signing off! Cheers, and keep learning! 🙂