In Wiesbaden, Germany, May 30-June 1, 2010, this became a reality for the first international event focused purely on Joomla, called J and Beyond. The event drew 190 attendees from 27 countries, over 55 sessions were given, and created a vibrant energy over Joomla.
Since the sessions were proposed and presented by the community, those who attended created the event. It was not targeted at any specific group, but those who attended were mostly advanced users, intergrators, and developers. The topics covered ranged from product demos, to cutting edge development topics, to marketing techniques, to business practices. It was truly a diverse set of topics presented completely by the community.
The setting for J and Beyond was a retreat tucked away outside of the main city. This gave the event a very relaxed atmosphere, and compared to the hectic nature of many conferences it was a refreshing opportunity to sit down and chat with people from around the world.
J and Beyond proved that the Joomla community is diverse. The attendees were able to personally share lots of thoughts and opinions related to Joomla and beyond. The Joomla community really shined in the numerous conversations, jokes, and discussions between people from very different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.
A great way to judge the success of an event is to follow up with those who attended and see what they say. There is a blog post on the Joomla.org website, numerous blog posts from attendees, some videos and interviews, and a lot of social media buzz. If you didn't make it, you can get a glimpse of some the action at http://jandbeyond.org where the session videos are being made available. The videos only give a small taste of the event, as the time outside of the sessions was as valuable, if not more, than the time spent listening to the amazing group of speakers.
A 2011 J and Beyond conference is planned, but no details are available yet.