A few weeks ago, we reached out about the planning for our 23rd & 24th October event. We promised an update in the 1st week of September.
While we continue to follow the current government guidelines regarding events in October, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy (under 2.2.3), the core directors team carried out extensive discussions with the venue and evaluated all the information available.
Based on the available data and our risk evaluation, it is with a heavy heart that we, as event directors, have taken the decision to CANCEL this year’s event. We will start planning our 10th anniversary edition for next year 2021.
We strive to be transparent in these times and these are the facts that we used for our risk evaluation and decision:
- With social distancing measures, the event would allow for 3 tracks with a total capacity of +/-450 people; we currently have about 800 participants registered. The venue is mostly running sit-down only events, i.e. you come in sitdown and don’t have breaks.
- Registration for even +/- 450 people is a logistically nightmare as we would need to check individuals contact details and temperature which means that just getting people in would take all morning.
- Realistically, It would not be possible to have a working networking and sponsor area as we could not guarantee social distancing measures.
- We can not guarantee the availability of speakers due to travelling constraints, local lockdowns, etc
- Current prediction models from scientists and health professionals are showing a potential 4th wave in October due to the appearance of the common flu. This would put more risk on having to cancel at the last minute.
- As the pandemic and infection rates evolve, there is no guarantee that current government recommendations will be the same.
- Depending on infection clusters, we may face local lockdowns which could impact the ability to hold the event.
We want to thank all of you for being patient in these times and supporting the team.
Why no virtual event?
We do not think that a virtual event is a good replacement as it would break the ethos of what our BSides is about and the real life interactions that many of us enjoy and need both professionally and personally. Sessions like the Rookie track also do not fit into a virtual setting; the goal being to give Rookies that real world speaking experience. We also feel it best to not inflict another zoom type meeting upon anyone on humanitarian grounds! This month alone there are 2 to 3 virtual events per week.
What happens now?
While we will be putting a more detailed FAQ on this website in the coming days, here is the TL;DR version:
- If you acquired one of our free event tickets, we will be cancelling those.
- If you won a ticket in one of our challenges, we will honour those and you will receive a coupon when we release 2021 tickets
- If you have a donor ticket, we will give you the choice to keep the ticket for next year or request a refund. A follow up message with details will be sent later this week.
We want to thank you again for your support and understanding.
Stay safe and healthy…