Venue and Date

Community organizers all over the world can now organize in-person WordPress events, following local laws and safety measures. Check out our latest guidelines for in-person events!

tl;dr: Get innovative looking for a venue! It should be unaffiliated with any religious or political groups. Try hard to find a free one; expensive venues mean lots of fundraising work. Find the venue and *then* set your date, not the other way around.

Once you’re approved as an organizer and have gotten a team together, all of you should start looking for a venue. You will not be added to the WordCamp CentralWordCamp Central Website for all WordCamp activities globally. includes a list of upcoming and past camp with links to each. calendar without a confirmed venue, so don’t pick dates first. Do identify dates of major sporting events, other tech conferences, etc. so that you can avoid them, but ultimately, finding the right venue (at the right price) trumps just about everything. Explore a number of options before you decide.

Free is Best

Getting a donated venue (vs. renting space) can mean the difference between not worrying about money and suddenly having to come up $50,000. You know what? Your WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. should not cost $50,000. As we like to say in the #wordpress-dev channel, if you have a budget that high because of venue selection, “you’re doing it wrong.” 🙂 There are a number of potential venues that can be had for free:

  • Public colleges and universities
  • Public libraries
  • City buildings
  • Public event halls
  • Corporate offices

The trick is that you need to get someone from that venue excited about WordCamp and onto your organizing team. Calling a college and asking them to donate an auditorium and a handful of rooms will almost always get you transferred to their conference or facilities manager, who will want to charge you. A faculty member, department head, or staff member who says, “I want to host this event as part of my program,” is a different story. Cold-calling and retail rates are not your friends.

If you can’t get a free venue, look for something as inexpensive as possible, so you can focus on your event’s content rather than fundraising. Always ask for discounts and try to negotiate. The worst that can happen is they say no.

Top ↑

Avoid at All Costs

And we do mean all costs, because they will nickel-and-dime you for everything from outlets to tablecloths and will lock you in to their expensive catering contractors. Unless you have a connection from one of these venues that wants to come on as a venue sponsor, these types of facilities should be avoided:

  • Conference/convention centers
  • Hotels
  • Professional event spaces
  • Theaters

Basically, if the space is their business, they won’t want to give it away unless there’s someone there that is in love with WordPress. Long shot, but it’s been done: offering to redo their website on WordPress might get you a trade.

You should also avoid venues with religious or political affiliations. Since one of our jobs as community organizers is to create a 100% welcoming space for everyone, we avoid holding events in venues where someone might feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.

Top ↑

Unusual Venues

Going for something with a little more character, like a community performance space, a museum, or a restaurant can make your WordCamp unique, that’s for sure. If you can do it on the cheap, great. But don’t pick an unusual venue for its own sake. People come to WordCamp to learn, meet people, and make connections, not to say “I got to go to this cool venue.” Unusual venues also tend to require more legwork to get things like A/V set up, so make sure you are able to get those things covered before you commit.

Top ↑

Choosing a Venue

There are a number of things aside from cost that you should take into consideration while making your venue selection.

  • Capacity. Will the venue hold the number of people you think will want to come? Is it too small? Too big? It’s better to sell out than to pay for unused space.
  • Audio-Visual. Does the venue come pre-wired for presentations with projectors tied to presenter podiums, microphones, etc? Are there additional charges for using this equipment? Can you supplement with your own (like to tap into the projector with a video cable to record the presentation screen)? Do they provide support staff? Are you required to use their staff?
  • Reviews. Check to see if previous users of the venue have reviewed it on or the like. Ask the venue coordinator if they would be willing to put you in touch with a former customer or two so you could ask about their experience at the venue.
  • Internet access. Do they have ethernet? Wifi? How much bandwidth? How many access points? You will need to make sure you have internet access for your presenters at minimum. It’s desirable to have wifi for attendees, but if everything else is ideal, you can get by without it. Just tell your attendees to focus on the people and the event happening around them instead of on the Twitter feed for a change.
  • Cell phone reception. You’ll want to be able to get calls and send messages as needed to speakers, volunteers, etc on the day of the event. If your venue is a dead zone, that will be a problem. Phone coverage is more important than wifi, because a large share of attendees have either evdo/mifi and/or a smartphone, and can access the internet over a cell signal. If your event is going to have over 400 people, it’s worth calling AT&T and/or Verizon and having them do a site check to see if they might want to boost coverage there. They don’t like it when lots of bloggers start twittering about the poor iPhone reception. 🙂
  • Setup/breakdown timing. When will they let you in to set up? How long will you have to get people out of the venue and clear out?
  • Insurance. Does the venue provide event insurance? If not, all WordCamps are covered by the WPCSWordPress Coding Standards A collection of PHP_CodeSniffer rules (sniffs) to validate code developed for WordPress. It ensures code quality and adherence to coding conventions, especially the official standards for WordPress Core. umbrella policy, so no extra event insurance is necessary.
  • Pricing. If you didn’t get a free venue, ask when their non-peak rates are. You can often save significantly by holding your event during a slow booking time.
  • Catering. Are you allowed to bring in food/beverage, or will they require you to use their caterers? What about if you get food/beverage donations from sponsors?
  • Kitchen. Are there refrigeration/food preparation facilities you can use?
  • Restrooms. How many are there, and how far are they from your rooms? How often are they cleaned/serviced?
  • Temperature. Air conditioning? Heat? Ask what temperature they try to keep the space.
  • Noise. Ask about traffic noise, noise from adjacent buildings/floors, upcoming construction.
  • Parking/transit. Speaking of traffic, is there parking available? Is it free or paid? Is there a mass transit line nearby, so you can encourage people not to drive?
  • AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). ( Are all spaces wheelchair accessible?

Do a walkthrough of the space before deciding for sure. Where would you set up registration? Will people be easily able to move from one session to another? Is there room for extras like a job board or genius bar?

Once you’ve decided on the best space, compare their open dates with your choices and pick a date that works for both sides. Fill out your WordCamp budget, talk to WordCamp Central and get it approved, and send the contract into Central to sign for you. Book the venue, fill out your WordCamp listing, and have WordCamp Central put your WordCamp on the main schedule. Once those steps are complete you can announce your WordCamp’s date! Yay!

Top ↑

Choosing a Date

In addition to comparing your venue’s open dates with your team’s choices, you may want to consider the date of other WordCamps in your region.

You may want to avoid the dates that another WordCamp in your region has selected to hold their event on, so your local attendees will not have to choose between your camps. Check the Schedule on WordCamp Central for events that may be on your target date, as well as for WordCamps happening in your region.

Be sure to also review the “Planned WordCamps” sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme. for events in your region, as those camps don’t have a confirmed date yet. It’s a good idea to reach out to the organizers of events in your region that are being planned, in order to learn which dates they’re aiming for. This way, you can avoid choosing an conflicting or overlapping date for your event.

For camps being planned, it’s a good bet that their email address will get you in touch with the organizers. You can even try reaching out in the #community-events channel in Slack to try to find someone from the organizing team to chat with!

Here is a quiz on this article. Read quizzes page if you have any questions about quizzes and how to navigate them.

Last updated: