Chapter 1: My First Steps at DrupalCon

A Rookie's Guide to DrupalCon Europe

Nikita Aswani
Nikita Aswani
Front End Developer
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DrupalCon Europe 2023

Dream! It is still unbelievable that I did attend my first in-person DrupalCon. Not only was it my first time attending the conference but also my first international trip, and my first solo trip. I mean it when I say that I still find it hard to believe it happened.

While I've been a regular at Drupal camps and meet-ups in India, DrupalCon has always been a distant aspiration. But stepping into the conference venue, I was greeted by a world that exceeded all expectations. From the meticulously planned sessions to the expansive booths, every aspect of DrupalCon was a testament to the community's dedication and passion.

Volunteering at DrupalCon Lille 2023

Volunteering for the event added an extra layer of excitement. The pre-conference briefing session not only acquainted us with our responsibilities but also provided a chance to connect with fellow volunteers. We talked about the duties like helping at the registration desk, navigation, session monitoring, contribution mentoring, etc. It was reassuring to have familiar faces in the crowd as we geared up for the eventful days ahead. 

Nikita at DrupalCon Europe 2023

With some free time on my hands, I decided to lend a hand and volunteer to help set up the booths. It was a rewarding experience to chat with fellow volunteers and contribute to the preparations. As someone who had traveled solo, being surrounded by friendly faces was comforting.

My Experience at DrupalCon Lille 2023

The event officially kicked off the next day, and it was nothing short of spectacular. The venue buzzed with energy as attendees eagerly explored the booths and indulged in the excitement of the event. Having been involved in organizing the Drupal Camp in India last year, I understood the effort it takes to bring such events to life. Observing the event from an organizing perspective allowed me to gain valuable insights to share with my team back home.

The energy was infectious - everyone was excited, and the booths were buzzing. From Acquia's prize claw machine to QED42's legendary t-shirt designs, each booth had something unique to offer.

Acquia's booth was a sight to behold. Their prize claw machine was the center of attention, filled with cool t-shirts, socks, toys, and my personal favorite - Acquia personalized Drupal theme Converse. I had my eyes set on those shoes, but winning them proved to be a challenge. I even joked with Prasad sir about stealing them for me! 

QED42, known for their exceptional t-shirt designs, didn't disappoint. Their booth showcased the latest designs that had everyone talking. I couldn't resist getting my hands on one of their new designs. They also had beautifully designed French vibe postcards that caught my eye. 

Pantheon had an innovative marketing strategy with a live t-shirt printing machine. Attend a short session about their new product, and you could walk away with a custom t-shirt of your choice. It was a brilliant way to promote their product and the Pantheon decoupled kit they were showcasing piqued the interest of both developers and businesses alike.

Dropsolid had the most fun booth - they had waffles! The idea of enjoying a waffle while networking and interacting with others was simply genius. As the waffle was being prepared, attendees had the chance to engage with each other, exchange ideas, and forge connections.

FFW's booth had a nostalgic charm to it. Their collection of goodies - gummy bears, reusable mint boxes, pencils, and pens - brought a smile to everyone's face. The clean designs and attention to detail were commendable. Their retro-themed photo booth was a hit, capturing memories that attendees would cherish for years to come.

1xINTERNET took the prize for the best party. Their team's warm hospitality and infectious energy made it an unforgettable experience. We danced the night away, forming bonds that transcended geographical boundaries. It was a testament to the power of community and collaboration.

These were just a few highlights among many other amazing booths at DrupalCon. Each booth had its own story to tell, leaving attendees inspired and engaged.

Networking at DrupalCon Lille 2023 

There was also a volunteer dinner at the end of the second day. It was such a nice gesture towards the volunteers. Many times it happens, when you volunteer, you tend to get so busy with your duties that you don’t get enough time to network or chat. This volunteer get-together gave us a breather. It was refreshing and allowed us to connect, and discuss the event details and learnings. It is beautiful to see the community coming together for the success of the event.

collage of pictures at drupalcon

DrupalCon Lille was truly an unforgettable experience, and there's so much more I want to share with you all. However, if I continue writing, this blog will turn into a lengthy read. 

Therefore, I've decided to unfold my experience through a series of upcoming blogs. For those who have yet to experience their first DrupalCon, my blogs will offer a glimpse into the conference atmosphere and the excitement it holds. And for those who attended the event, it will be a nostalgic journey down memory lane.

Stay tuned for more insights and reflections from my DrupalCon experience!