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The Umbraco Festival

Posted on November 2023 By Aaron Green

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The Umbraco community is something that I first stumbled upon around September last year 2022, and I’ve never looked back since.

In the past year I’ve been lucky enough to attend almost all the major Umbraco events, including Umbraco Spark in Bristol and Codegarden in Denmark. I also regularly attend my local Umbraco meetup UmBristol each month – and I’ve even ventured over to Wales to attend the amazing UmbraCymru.

I love Umbraco and the Umbraco community. I love it so much, that I’ve contributed to the open-source project, done a talk at my local Umbraco event, and currently am in possession of the Umbraco Drum which was a prize at a Codegarden which happened back when the branding was still orange instead of blue.

Essentially, it’s my entire personality at this point – so when I heard about Umbraco Festival – one of the bigger Umbraco events now organised by the Umbraco Foundation (more on that later) and held locally to me in London, I knew I had to go.

Now it’s no secret that I’m pretty crazy about the .NET community as well, and the tech scene in general. I organise/co-organise 3 meetups – get involved in a number of other meetups, and as a company, we also sponsor DDD SW. Long story short – I get to attend A LOT of tech events.

And yet there’s always something so different about an Umbraco event. It’s hard to put your finger on it, whether it’s the sheer passion of the speakers at their talks, the friendliness of everyone there, the weird and wacky events that happen, or all of the above – the one underlying consistent factor is the community.

This year the Umbraco Foundation was formed to look after and centralise funding for a number of the key UK Umbraco events including the Umbraco Festival, Umbraco Spark and a number of local meetups. This to me, is the perfect embodiment of what makes Umbraco events so special. A community so strongly felt that having something like the Umbraco Foundation to bring it all together and help provide funding to local events seems like a no-brainer.

In the spirit of hanging out with the community – the event, starts before the event!! In true Umbracian spirit we of course start the event the night before – with the pre-party at Glitch Bar. A retro-inspired games bar. Epic.

The pre-party alone had me talking to so many new people, competing with them in fun games, and really creating that fantastic friendly community energy that runs through the heart of the Umbraco community and their events.

The talks themselves were phenomenal and I intend to go into much more detail about them in separate articles, keep your eyes peeled for the next article coming out on the iO website and LinkedIn soon! I went to a number of talks including talks about accessibility and UI, AI and Azure, headless commerce, how to bring your clients into the projects you’re working on to get more buy in, and how to run a successful Umbraco meetup. This last talk was seriously interesting for me as at iO we host our own range of meetups on iO Meetups, have a look at our extensive range here.

We finished off the day with a talk from the CTO of Umbraco Filip Bech-Larsen. He outlined the future of Umbraco and the following roadmap and it’s always hard not to get excited watching this stuff. There are so many cool future projects and features coming up in the Umbraco world and to get this unique sneak peek was really a privilege. Sufficed to say, if you’re in the Umbraco space – you’ve got a lot to look forward to upcoming in future releases.

It’s rare that you find a tech niche with such a dedicated, passionate and friendly community of like-minded people all putting forward a little bit to the goal of improving the space. Whether it be the speakers, the organisers, the attendees, or the various Umbraco committees (like the Sustainability Council) which are made up of a mix of Umbraco staff and other members of the community from a range of different areas.

All of these people are contributing to the open-source. And I don’t just mean the technology. I mean the culture. The clients. The knowledge shared. They all form part of the contribution to that open-source. Because when we peel it all back, whilst we might be talking about the tech when we say it, the real magic of open-source goes so much further than that, it’s all the tiny contributions of community members that end up making something so amazing it ends up becoming a tour de force on its own – self-organised and free to evolve in whatever direction it pleases.

So, if you’ve been on the fence about going to one of these events – this is your sign to buy a ticket to Umbraco Spark, or sign up to attend your local Umbraco meetup, or if you don’t know anything about Umbraco – to download it and try playing around with the tech yourself. Don’t wait to be a part of the friendliest community out there.

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Umbraco Recruiter – Aaron Green.