Becoming an organiser

This year, I was a WordCamp Europe co-organiser, the biggest WordCamp in the world.

Having volunteered 4 times myself (2017 in Paris, 2019 in Berlin, 2022 in Porto and 2023 in Athens), I wanted now to become an organiser, and I have been chosen last September to lead the Volunteer team.

One of the reason why I wanted to become an organiser is that we, the Swiss community, wanted to apply to host WordCamp Europe, and I wanted to learn the work from the inside! We applied in February, got accepted in March, and I wrote another post “WordCamp Europe 2025 in Basel, Switzerland” for the whole story!

As I went to Torino early April, this post is also the part 3 of my travels March-April 2024, see part 1 (Cloudfest/Hackathon) and part 2 (Switzerland Community Day)

In the Volunteer Team the tasks are to find around 150-200 volunteers to serve you all during the event. We had a Call for Volunteers, vetted each one of the applications, had them confirm, onboarded them on the Slack channel, given them a coupon code for the ticket and an invite for the Social Event. We also defined with the other teams all the roles and shifts necessary to be filled in. We have had weekly meetings with my team, and 2 calls with the Volunteers.

The closer we got to the event, the more I was looking forward to meet our volunteers and having the event run smoothly for the 2500 to 3000 attendees thank to them!

It’s always so great to see so many people, from all over the world! and it was an honour to be a co-organiser and participate to make this event wonderful!

Before the event: Torino and venue visits

We had the opportunity to meet in Torino on 30 November-1 December 2023 and 4-5 April 2024 to visit the venue and to get to know our fellow co-organisers better. Like “team-building” activities or retreats as you see in distributed companies! I already knew many of them but yes, I made new friends!

First visit

In December, when I first arrived at the venue, I had the same goosebumps I usually have when I first see a WordCamp Europe venue! That feeling of “Here we are!”

And we not only visited the venue, but also took a city-tour by bus, went to the Lego shop, visited the Museum of Cinema at the Mole Antonelliana, and met the helpful Turismo Torino e Provincia team. And we had dinners all together! Thank you Laura Sacco, Gloria Liuni, Cristiano Zanca and Marco Chiesi from the Local team for organising these two wonderful days!

Second visit

The venue (more information on the WCEU website) was huge and consisted of 2 large halls for the general public. It’s Lingotto Fiere, the exhibition halls that are part of the large “Lingotto” complex that also includes a shopping centre, hotels and a wide range of food facilities!

What’s amazing is that the whole Lingotto complex used to be part of FIAT’s factories and test track! And hold on, the test track is on the top of the building! We were able visit that on the second visit in April. To find out more about “La Pista 500”, you can visit the Pinacoteca Agnelli website. You can also read this article “Vintage: Fiat Rooftop Test Track in Turin” about it in the 1920s on the Monovisions blog.

During the second visit, I also went with my fellow co-organisers Kel Santiago-Pilarski, Steve Mosby and Matt Ross to a skybar, Piano 35, located at 166 meters above ground, with a breathtaking 360° degrees view over Torino. I had an absolutely lovely time with them.

On both visits, we participated to the local WordPress Torino meetup Group. The events were called “Meet WCEU organisers”, and were happening at the Toolbox Coworking venue, where the local WordCamp Torino is held on other years (I attended in April 2017, 2018 and 2023). I absolutely love that place! And now I can’t wait for the local WordCamp Torino 2025 to take place, hopefully in April? I already miss that great city and the people from the local WordPress community!

Picnic side-event

Although I was a WCEU co-organiser, I also independently organised the “Picnic Side Event” on Wednesday 12 June, as in Porto in 2022 and Athens in 2023. We had a good time. I estimate around 80 people came. It’s always a pleasure to meet people before the big event!

You know what? It looks like I forgot to take pictures! If you have one, send it to me, thanks a lot!


As a non-sponsored contributor, all my expenses are paid by myself, the travels, the accommodation totalled about 1400 euros for the 2 venue visits and the event in June. It took quite a hit on my finances, and I’m writing another post (I will add link here when published) about that and sponsorships!

Volunteer cancellation

We had a lot of people cancelling their participation. Some of them were part of one same company which reduced the contingent of people they would pay travels for and we lost about 25-30 people due to that reason.

Another big issue are visas! Depending on the country of origin, it’s not easy to get a Schengen visa if you do not have an already good travel history and enough financial garanties in your country. Furthermore, the waiting time to even just get an appointment in certain countries is of several months.

For those reasons, on over 300 applications, we had only 140 volunteers in the end. It’s not easy to organise the shifts, when people are cancelling close to the event.

We even had some people who, beside the initial confirmation, never replied to our emails (where the email system told us the email was read). I find that utterly impolite by the way!

The event

I mentioned above having had goosebumps when I first saw the venue in December, I must admit that to know it in advance reduced a little bit the excitement I usually feel right before WordCamp Europe. I was in known territories!

And when you are working on it for several months and the event finally arrives, it’s not exactly the same than when you are an attendee!

We first had the Contributor Day on Thursday, where I could attend for only a little time, I talked with Courtney Robertson and Angela Jin about the GatherPress project.

Then the opening remarks on Friday morning are the goosebumps moment!!

I tried to attend some sessions, but in the end, I only saw a few:

Since I came back home, I watched some other talks on the YouTube livestream replay, such as “Sustainable open source is the future” by Joost de Valk and Juliette Reinders Folmer which addresses so many important points! In the next weeks, I’ll also watch most of the other talks.

The community

Wherever you read about what people like, the answer is usually about the Community. I’m very much of a Global citizen and all my projects and I would even add my “mission” are bringing people together! I love the fact that a lot of nationalities and languages are mixed in a very friendly and welcoming environment at WordCamp Europe (or other WordPress events).

First organiser dinner on Tuesday evening!

My fellow co-organisers from the Volunteer Team are on the first photo below. From left to right: Fotis Routsis, myself, Valérie Galassi, Francesco Di Candia, Michelle Bulloch, Aida Correa-Jackson, Samah Nasr (Carlos Moreira arrived later).

Then there is the traditional “Swiss people at WordCamp Europe” group photo, too many to name them all :D. Note the presence of one of the youngest attendees, the daughter of Simea Merki!!

And I’m also very well connected with the French community, having met most of them at local WordCamp events in France, or past WordCamp Europe. It was great reconnecting with them during the Siteground party (third photo below).

And of course the big family picture, here taken by Fede Padilla, and me taking a photo of the photographers!

To see friends from the other side of Europe and even the world every year bring me joy! People we only meet online with during Make WordPress teams meetings for example.

I also missed so many people due to the work! After the event, I realised some of them were here and I had missed them! I even saw people on the Sunday evening only, after the event (Hi, Nathan 😉 ) !

It’s Over!

On Monday 17 June, I had a last moment at the venue with Laura, the Local lead (I was looking for some Lost and Found items), and for a coffee with Ali and Steve from the Communication team. I had a hard time to leave and let it go! That feeling that it’s now past and that we need to move on!

I loaded the big hashtag polystyrene foam letters in my car (thanks again Ali for the help), because we’ll need them next year, and that’s the good part: this one is over, but I can now focus on the next one! WordCamp Europe is heading to my home country for 2025! Whole story here!

See you all there ❤️

8 responses to “WordCamp Europe 2024 as a co-organiser”

  1. Sebastien Serre avatar

    Many thanks Patricia for all what you’re doing for WordPress and it’s community

    1. Patricia BT avatar
      Patricia BT

      Merci Sébastien! It was nice seeing you and all the Frenchies 🙂

  2. Patrick avatar

    Amazing! I hope to make it to the #WCEU in Basel.

    1. Patricia BT avatar
      Patricia BT

      Thank you Patrick! I hope to see you there! And thank you for what you are doing for the WordPress Community (at a global level and locally in Kenya!)

  3. Ganga Kafle avatar

    Nice summary! Thank you for your contribution to the community. I am looking forward to a successful WCEU 2025!

    1. Patricia BT avatar
      Patricia BT

      Thank you Ganga! Same to you and your contributions!

  4. Michelle avatar

    Thank you for a wonderful recap! So many happy memories as a member of the Volunteers Team, it was great working with you, Patricia! 🫶 And now: let’s join forces once again to make WCEU 2025 in Basel a great event! 💪

    1. Patricia BT avatar
      Patricia BT

      It’s always a pleasure to work with you Michelle, whether as a WordPress contributor for event organisation or for our professional projects! ✨

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