DrupalCon San Diego - Leave your coats at home

druroot's picture

I'd like to start discussing the possibility of a San Diego DrupalCon!

We started talking about this idea while wandering home from the bars around midnight in Chicago and there was alot of grumbling about the freezing temperatures in the city. Historically, every North American DrupalCon has been held somewhere cold...Chicago, San Fran, DC, Boston. Of course it's pretty cold in most places during the time of year when Drupalcon is generally held...but not in San Diego We're the southernmost American city with a powerful enough Drupal presence to host a Con.

We got a lot for positive reaction from Drupalers in the bar and we got some tweets flying, but it's time to start picking up the topic again.

I think that adding a little sun and sand will make for North America's Finest DrupalCon!

The Venue:
San Diego has a killer convention center that's easily capable of Comic-Con sized cons. It's also a beautiful location right on San Diego Bay.

The historic gaslamp district is literally across the street from the convention center and is alive with great restaurants and bars. Both the Omni and Marriot would make great choices for supporting hotels, and there are lots of other options very close by if we need them.

We have a very strong and interconnected community in San Diego and throughout the rest of Southern California that will band together to provide all the Drupal support we need. We already have some preliminary support from the LA DUG and we all believe that several other local DUGs will lend their support as well.

We have a proven track record for great camps.

There is a train station and an airport within a couple miles of the convention center, cab rides would be less than $10.

San Diegans consider 60 degrees cold, and 90 degrees hot, nuff said.

I'd love to see DrupalCon 2013 in San Diego, but even if that doesn't workout, I think we should be at the top of the list for consideration in coming years.

Whaddayathink peoples?
If we can rally some support around this idea, I think we can get the attention of the Drupal Association and get America's Finest City on the list.


Well, I suppose it could be

burt.lo's picture

Well, I suppose it could be the best DrupalCon. Ever.


I'm not going to take credit for this idea, but it did cross my mind at SandCamp.


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Would be fantastic IMO.

moshe weitzman's picture

Would be fantastic IMO. Please make your dreams known at http://groups.drupal.org/drupalcon-north-american-regional-organizing-group. They might be able to suggest a next step.

Has anyone done Moshe's suggestion yet?

Senpai's picture

Has anyone done Moshe's suggestion of make our dreams known at http://groups.drupal.org/drupalcon-north-american-regional-organizing-group yet?

Joel Farris | my 'certified to rock' score

Yes, I cross posted it

druroot's picture

Yes, I cross posted it, it was very easy thanks to OG's wonderful cross-posting functionality =)

Absolutely love the idea

douglaschoffman's picture

And we already have a starter team from the SandCamps. I'm in! +3

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I'm in too. San Diego is cool

wizonesolutions's picture

I'm in too. San Diego is cool in that you'd get a bucketload of people from L.A. as well. It would almost be DrupalCon L.A.!

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I think we can do this.

stargazer1sd's picture

Let's just think of it as a super-sized SandCamp. :-)

We have venues that can support large conventions. We have an incredible community and team of people who can organize. We have the climate!

Perhaps most importantly, we have lots of activities to keep non-Drupalieri entertained. You can bring your family and call it a vacation.

Count me in too. How do we apply?

A group of us also discussed

brenda003's picture

A group of us also discussed this in Chicago. Though, mostly joked about it, and even tweeted that it was happening. ;)

That said, I think a San Diego Drupalcon would be awesome. It's really quite a full time job for a few people to organize and then additional help of a lot more-- I think we could have that, especially if we leverage the help of other local groups, but it does require that commitment. I'd love to be one of those additional people!

I'm game... been

NikLP's picture

I'm game... been procrastinating coming back to the west coast since 2005! Let's do this ;)

This is a great first step!

gdemet's picture

Posting your interest in this group is a great first step! While active community interest is definitely a key criteria in selecting a DrupalCon location, there are numerous other factors that are considered as well.

Some of the factors that were considered for the 2012 selection process were:

  • Geographic distribution (have we recently held a DrupalCon in this area of the country?)
  • Financial feasibility
  • Venue availability
  • Strength of local community
  • Potential for attendance growth
  • Size of local economy
  • Potential for Drupal market growth

As someone who recently co-chaired a DrupalCon and has helped organize several camps, I can tell you that it is very misleading to think of DrupalCon as just a "large camp". DrupalCon is a large international conference with thousands of attendees and a seven-figure budget that is many times more logistically more complicated than even the biggest camp. Many DrupalCon attendees are not regular members of the community and have a different set of expectations than those who typically attend DrupalCamps. Even with the assistance provided by the Drupal Association and DrupalCon, Inc., a lot of responsibility falls on the shoulders of the local team, which should expect to spend over a year in planning and thousands of hours of time on the event.

This is not intended to scare anyone off or dampen anyone's enthusiasm; I just want to make sure that everyone here fully understands the level of effort involved in hosting a DrupalCon.

Digging a little deeper

stargazer1sd's picture

The interesting question is how many people would we have to accommodate? How many people attended Drupalcon in Chicago, and what's the growth rate?

Also, on our end, we'd have to incorporate an entity to run the event. This isn't something we'll do with an informal group of people. George, what was your personnel to organize the con? How many full time staff, full-time volunteers, etc. did you have?

Our key problem will be venue. The convention center is really cool, and will accommodate many thousands. But I'd be very surprised if Drupalcon has enough people to justify using it. If Drupalcon falls in that range of larger than one of the large hotels, too small for one of the convention centers, we may well have a serious challenge.

The number of people we'll

druroot's picture

The number of people we'll have to accommodate could range a lot since we're speculating on Drupal's growth over the next couple of years, but I think we should be prepared to deal with 5-6 thousand people. The Drupal association hires an event company to deal with most of the logistics of any con, but they require a lot of support from the local team.

As far as the venue goes, we definitely wouldn't use the whole space, it's huge. We should be able to strike a good deal for just the right amount of space assuming availability. We actually almost swung one of the Sandcamps there, but it was a little out of our budget at the time.

I know that it's a huge commitment from the local team, but we have a very strong presence of Drupalers in Southern California that do a great job at organizing community efforts. Both San Diego and Los Angeles are known for throwing some of the biggest, best Drupal camps around. Even though a con is at very least an order of magnitude larger than the largest of camps, I think our Southern California community will band together to help organize a great con.

All that having been said, I'd love to hear any reflections you(George) might have about the biggest challenges you faced during the extensive planning process. Moving forward, we'll definitely want to draw on the experiences of the local organizing teams from Chicago, SF, and DC.

These are great questions,

gdemet's picture

These are great questions, but ultimately not ones that the local team will need to worry about. All of the logistical details like venue negotiations and contracts, vendors, staff, etc., are handled by DrupalCon, Inc., the non-profit organization that partners with the Drupal Association to run DrupalCon. There is already a great team in place to handle most of those kinds of issues; the primary responsibility of the local team should be to focus on the content of the conference and provide the "local flavor" that make each DrupalCon special and unique.

The process for selecting the city for DrupalCon North America 2013 will likely get underway this summer, and more details will be announced at that time. In the meantime, local teams should avoid getting ahead of themselves: at this point, knowing there's local community interest and enthusiasm is all that's necessary. No one should be contacting venues or trying to incorporate entities or anything like that: there are already mechanisms in place to handle those things.

To directly answer your questions though, about 3,000 people attended DrupalCon Chicago. The target number for DrupalCon NA 2013 will probably be heavily influenced by the anticipated numbers for Denver 2012.

Yes please!

naxoc's picture

I have always wanted to go to San Diego :)


jonathanmd's picture

Count me in. I'd love to get the ball rolling and help organize.


Susan Rust's picture

You are so invited to organize :)
We have an awesome, type A, get-it-done crew.
We'll put up info in a few months.


+ 1 - sounds like the perfect spot.

jwalpole's picture

The Drupalcamp was great and I bet the city could host an amazing Drupalcon as well with the right planning.


Bill Bostick's picture

America's most beautiful city. When it gets really cold here, we have to wear TWO tee-shirts.

Great idea!

ChristophWeber's picture

One more vote for San Diego. While I won't have as much time as for the last three SandCamps, I'll still try and help out as much as I can to make a DrupalCon San Diego happen.

Christoph Weber

All Over It

jamesbenison's picture

I can practically hit the convention center with a rock from my loft.

I am kinda surprised that it hasn't been hosted here yet. Over twenty million people are within about a two hour drive. And don't underestimate the two million or so that are right across the border. Many of them use Drupal too.

+1 What is the next step to

rich.yumul's picture


What is the next step to get SD on the list of locations up for consideration for 2013?

Rich Yumul
Sage Tree Solutions

My guess is that more details

gdemet's picture

My guess is that more details for the 2013 selection process will be announced this summer, but in the meantime, just publicly stating your interest (as you've done in this thread) is sufficient.

Karl Scheirer Rocks and Starts a Good Buzz

Susan Rust's picture

So there we were (the usual San Diego suspects) in Chicago. And while I will swear that no alcohol was involved, you'll have to be the judge. So Karl started the rumor and got everyone to tweet it that Drupalcon was going to be held in San Diego for 2013. Over the next 24 hours, we got a lovely amount of buy in. At that point I did corner Kieran and Jacob and they reluctantly agreed that wonderful weather, centralized hotels, beautiful girls and surfers along with a rooftop beach party may be painful to bear but since it was for the common good that they might be swayed.

Since then I invited Jacob to be our keynote speaker so we can showcase the great Drupal venue that San Diego can be, so think of our camp this year as a trial run. We are running a different format, upscaling the costs a bit and borrowing some of the best of Chicago's event. Although perhaps we should hand out pajama tops to with those boy-only pajama bottoms...

The host city is responsible for being the on-the-ground team and we should anticipate 1000-1500 hours of time. It's a big commitment with many, many details. I'll say that once you've gone through an event this large, you'll be more forgiving and kind at every future event you got to.

Next steps!

  1. Gather a volunteer list skills, expertise, and hours able to contribute
  2. Line up venue ideas and activities
  3. Setup our own Drupalcon2013.Sandcamp.org to get some buzz going
    (would be cool to get pre-registration so we can get some attendance buzz)
  4. #drupalsandiego is our hashtag you can follow
  5. Gather a list of assets (my friend is a event planner, my friend owns the Marriott downtown, etc.)

Oh, and Jay Batson will be a guest DJ...

Stay tuned,
And Karl, no more rumors until after 2013, this'll keep me busy for awhile.

The host city is responsible

gdemet's picture

The host city is responsible for being the on-the-ground team and we should anticipate 1000-1500 hours of time.

I'm not sure who told you that, but the actual figure is probably closer to 3,000-4,500 hours.

As I mentioned earlier in the thread, the process for selecting DrupalCon North America will likely be announced this summer; in the meantime, it's totally great to start thinking about ideas within your local user group, but please do not start reaching out to venues or vendors.

Who Was That Masked Guy?

Susan Rust's picture

Hey George, I'm not sure who told me that either. But someone was shouting this in my ear while a large gospel choir was singing in the background (it was not a bar and no one was drinking) so when he said "you" he obviously meant "me personally" rather than the royal "you" --- if that makes any sense. But now that you've scared off all the volunteers, I'm going on the record to say we'll be furnishing 500 volunteers who ONLY have to work 7 hours each. (Those of you thinking about responding to that last figure, I'm kidding).

No, no vendor reaching out. Just fun brainstorming for our "DrupalCon2103.sandcamp.org" promotional thoughts. (This doesn't exist yet) See you next time I'm in Chicago. As an aside, DrupalCon Chicago was amazing. There wasn't anything about the conference that wasn't just great. I really liked the centralized venue, the food, the amenities, the city -- would say sessions but had to work a booth. It really felt like Drupal had grown up into something bigger than itself. Nicely done.

DrupalCon selection process

farriss's picture

The post-Denver DrupalCon location will be selected over the summer. There will be posts in the North America group later this month that detail the criteria that will be used.

A couple of notes:
- Local teams are not responsible for budget or locations. Any interested team should not waste time scouting venues or drafting budgets. It will not influence the results of the city evaluation as all budget and venue analysis comes from the Associations Events Manager and his team.

  • The volunteer time put into DrupalCon Chicago was 3000+ hours, even with the Association's staff working on production, logistics and sponsorship.

The Association is aware (and excited) that several cities, including San Diego are interested in and willing to host a DrupalCon. That said, no city has "buy-in" and there is no front-runner. The process hasn't started yet.

Get buy in from a board member...

Alex UA's picture

Since the DA Board operates in secret, and they select DrupalCon on their own (with the advice of a few select insiders), you should really try to get some of the DA Board on your side. I mean, if we can end up in Chicago, in March, with fewer people than the previous DrupalCon (growth? that's so 2010), at close to twice the cost to the attendees, and 1.5x more for the sponsors, just imagine how easy it will be for a board member to sway things towards SD! Just an FYI: it may make it more enticing if the Board Member knows that they can make money on the deal.

Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg
ZivTech: Illuminating Technology

Good thought

Susan Rust's picture

I'll have to go meet a few more DA Board Members. Wonder if they like chocolates? Just based on the conversations we've had (our rumor mill group), there's significant interest from developers in coming here. Last year's SandCamp had 300+ attendees but we also had Drupal royalty: Leven Ten, 4 Kitchens, Phase Two, MCN, Volacci, Digitaria, GVS, and several others because of Achieve's awesome sponsor coercion. They all left town committed to returning with families in tow for SandCamp 2012. That's significant.

The other positive is that between Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Bay Area, LA and San Diego, that's a very significant portion of the active US Drupal participation. That's changing rapidly and we won't be able to hold onto that for very long but we do have critical mass here on the west coast for now.

I'll have to talk with a certain friend (Jamie Meredith) and talk about the revenue part. I have an idea.... : D

Thanks Alex, see you in London?

San Diego is Paradise

macmaci's picture

After college I moved from San Diego to NYC. I did a brief stint as an international flight attendant travelling every inch of the globe. When I'd meet people and tell them I traded San Diego for NYC they thought I was absolutely nuts--"what, leave paradise?" Trust me, people everywhere think San Diego is Paradise. What better setting for Drupal NA than Paradise. And those wonderful developers--I'm sure they could use a bit of paradise.

Hopefully someone from the board will make this happen.

-Mildred aka Kali's mom

San Diego DUG

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