DjangoCon US has been a regular fixture in the Django calendar since 2008. Since 2010, the event has been organised by The Open Bastion, as a for-profit venture. The Open Bastion were awarded the rights to organize the 2014 and 2015 events as part of an open bidding process in which they were the only bid received.
During their tenure running DjangoCon US, The Open Bastion has assumed all financial risk related to organising DjangoCon US, and in return, were allowed to reap all profits. When events were financially successful, The Open Bastion has made sizeable donations to the DSF, even though they were not required to do so.
The organisation of DjangoCon Europe and Australia is completely separate to the US event. European DjangoCons have always been organised by local user groups. Event profits have been rolled back into the user groups and future events. DjangoCon Australia is a mini-conference organised under the banner of PyCon Australia.
Over the last few years, the Django Software Foundation (DSF) has received a range of complaints about the organisation of DjangoCon US, especially regarding the event date, delays in schedules, the program selection process, and most of all, ticket price.
We’ve heard this feedback, and we want to improve.
We’re locked into a venue and dates for 2015 – September 7-10, at the Hilton in Austin, Texas – and there are certain minimums required by the hotel contract. The Open Bastion is also locked in as the event organiser – their name is on the hotel contract.
However, almost everything else about the 2015 event can be controlled – including ticket price, program content, and the program review process. Even the split of event profit is up for negotiation. The Open Bastion has indicated that they’re open to negotiation regarding how accounting procedures and profits for the 2015 event will be handled. It might even be possible for the community to take over the 2015 contract completely – but that would be dependent on getting enough volunteers to demonstrate that the financial risk to the DSF is manageable.
However, in order to make any of these changes, we need the help of volunteers. In particular, we need people to fill the following key positions:
- Conference chair
- Program chair
- Fundraising Chair
- Diversity and Outreach Chair
- Publicity Chair
- Website and Technical Lead
- Graphics Lead
- Volunteer Coordinator
- Speaker Liason
- Sprint Coordinator
- Venue Liaison
Some of these positions (especially the key chair roles) will also need co-chairs. Sprint Coordinator and Venue Liaison require someone who is Austin local (due to logistics). This list isn’t exhaustive, either – once an initial committee is in place, volunteers may be needed to fill other roles that are identified.
The long term aim is to turn DjangoCon US into a community event like DjangoCon Europe, or PyCon US. In 2016, everything is up for negotiation, including venue and dates; we hope to use 2015 as a stepping stone towards a fully community-orgainzed event for 2016 and beyond.
If you’re interested in helping out, join the DjangoCon Organizers mailing list and let us know how you’d like to help.
We look forward to seeing everyone in Austin next September!