Two weeks ago I got to visit Berlin for a couple of days. I have quite fond memories of Berlin; I previously went in 2007 for a BarCamp and a conference and had a great time then (and met loads of awesome people).
This time around I was there for Campus Party Europe, a large unique tech event. Campus Party started originally in South America and from all accounts I’ve heard the original events are really good. It’s a bit of a mish mash of an event; it’s a weird mix of conference, hackday, LAN party, with thousands of attendees.
This was the first time it was held in Germany and they had managed to get an awesome venue: Berlin Tempelhof, a huge old airport in central Berlin. The event took place in most of the terminal building, which is shaped as a huge crescent spanning 1.2 km. In the middle section most of the hacking/presentations took place, while in the outer arms tons of tents were set up for attendees to camp in (luckily I got to stay in a hotel, camping is really not my thing).
I was there specifically to help out with the Think Big workshop. For 2 days, groups of 18-25 year olds worked on defining and designing their own mobile app ideas. I was there as one of the mentors helping out and explaining stuff to the groups. It was a lot of fun, and the ideas the participants came up with were great.
Because I was helping out with the workshop though, I didn’t get to experience much of everything else that was going on at Campus Party. I didn’t really have time to go to presentations or to work on a hack. It seems like it could be a great event, but I didn’t really get that feeling I most of the time get at great hack days, like Over The Air or Mashed. At those, you always get inspired to start working on something, just by the pure vibe of everything thats going on around you. I didn’t get that with Campus Party. I’m guessing that might have to do with just how large and vast the venue was, but you just didn’t get that feeling of “cool stuff is being created here”.
I did have a great time though, and it was awesome to be back in Berlin again. Keep an eye out for another post one of these days with my photos of sightseeing in Berlin!