DrupalCon Europe will only sustain if you show up for it

After Drupal Europe filled up the DrupalCon space in 2018 and Kuoni Congress seamlessly took over with DrupalCon in 2019, this year is totally different. Because of the pandemic, DrupalCon too had to move to online. But organizing an online event requires as much, if not more work. Cancellation fees to the Barcelona venue makes it very hard to get DrupalCon 2020 going. If Drupal in Europe is important to you, we need your help! Read on to see how.

After years of losses, in 2017 the Drupal Association concluded that DrupalCon Europe was not financially feasible for the organization. After laying out the finances and community discussions, the Drupal Association proposed a licensing model which would allow the event be put on by a third party with efficiencies in the event space. Financial risks would be taken on by this third party and DrupalCon Europe would be saved.

The model was not ready in time for 2018, but the local community thought it would be really important to show its strength and get together anyway. So a team of volunteers collaborated to organize Drupal Europe in its place. While that event was a success, the volunteer model was not scalable. Several of the organizers were happy to advise the future licensee but not to organize a purely volunteer DrupalCon again. It was a monumental effort and if the personnel costs would have been taken into account, it would have lost significant money as well.

DrupalCon Amsterdam 2019 was put on by Kuoni Congress, and most of the community did not even realize it, which is a testament to how well it was put together and how dedicated was Kuoni Congress to make this happen for the Drupal community. Venue booking was done and session submissions were happening for 2020 when the global pandemic hit and overthrew the plans. We were not lucky with the Barcelona venue, because they believe we could have organized the in-person event in September (based on local government advice at the time), even though attendees would have likely not traveled to an in-person event then. While the venue is rebooked in Barcelona for 2021, there are cancellation fees nonetheless.

The only sensible choice was to move online for 2020. It does not help DrupalCon Europe that for most attendees, setting up online meetings feels like a matter of a few clicks. However, putting together an event the magnitude of DrupalCon Europe requires as much if not more planning in an online format as it would be offline. Yes, there is no worrying about food allergies or sponsor placement for foot traffic, but making all components of a DrupalCon work in a sensible way takes a lot of thought, building and iteration. How would workshops work, contribution rooms operate with mentors roaming tables, BoFs with live submission, group photo, social events, live captioning, and so on. We cannot really rely on our well proven offline ways and we also cannot just throw up an online video meeting and call it done.

Kuoni Congress kept their folks assigned and diligently worked with the DrupalCon Advisory Committee to make DrupalCon Europe successful. The result is an exceptional program with 119 sessions, four in-depth interactive workshops, four keynotes, 42 BoFs, various contribution topics, fun social events and countless opportunities to meet and network with fellow Drupalers. All for a third of the price of an in-person DrupalCon ticket.

That is where you come in. We need to fill up the virtual hallways to make this event successful for all of us, so it keeps happening. People waiting for the eventual arrival of session videos on YouTube do not keep DrupalCon Europe alive. We need hundreds of additional attendees, so get your ticket now! We need more companies to sign up to sponsor if the strength of Drupal in Europe is important for you. If you already signed up, spread the word, let more people know why you are attending.

You may be affected by the global pandemic as much as the event is. While this is a really tough situation for us, we are offering grants and scholarships so you can make it too.

Hope to see you at DrupalCon Europe 2020, so we can also say the same about 2021.

DrupalCon Europe Advisory Committee