About 350 new media professionals from around the region are attending a conference this weekend at the Hotel Orrington in Evanston.

The event, called Drupal Camp Chicago, is designed for users of the Drupal content management system, one of several open source software solutions for developing complex websites.

About 350 new media professionals from around the region are attending a conference this weekend at the Hotel Orrington in Evanston.

The event, called Drupal Camp Chicago, is designed for users of the Drupal content management system, one of several open source software solutions for developing complex websites.

It’s the second meeting this year for content management system pros to be held in Evanston — following CMS Expo last spring. And the CMS Expo folks plan to return to the Orrington for another conference next May.

The spurt of interest in holding such events here has even gotten some on the city’s Economic Development Committee dreaming of how it might lead to Evanston becoming a hub for the new media industry.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Awesome news! But tell us the back story!
    This is terrific news! It would be great it you could report on who’s responsible for bringing this to Evanston. Was it our politicians? A particular business in Evanston? A group of businesses in Evanston? The University? The Chamber? All of them working together? I continue to believe that economic development in this city pretty much happens haphazardly with little planning and coordination between the City and the business community. This is either an indication of such coordination happening or, I’m afraid, just another one off event that occurred because of one person, one company, or one organization’s vision. Tell us the back story.

    Don’t think I know the whole story.

    But a few folks who work for local web development firms seem to have been instrumental in getting the first CMS Expo session here. Local government officials were pretty welcoming.

    CMS Expo attendees and organizers apparently had a good experience. That led to the decision to reprise CMS Expo here next year, and, probably given the overlap in attendees, to this weekend’s event being held here as well.


  2. YES! Evanston IS the hub for the new media industry
    Our firm is the lead sponsor of CMS Expo (www.cmsx.us) and pushed to have the event in Evanston.

    It will be held in Evanston again in spring 2010!

    Now . . . how can we get the Evanston business community on the bandwagon to gain maximum advantage from these events?

    Please contact me at joe.scarry at arctg.com to get involved!


  3. DrupalCamp and CMS Expo
    Hi, I’m John Coonen, Co-Host of CMS Expo, and Director of the CMS Association, which hosts the annual CMS Expo Learning & Business Conference.

    Our job is to support and foster the growth of Content Management Systems (CMS) software and creative communities, such as for Drupal, Joomla!, WordPress, Plone, Alfresco and others. The CMS Expo is a live annual conference which brings together web design and development professionals from around the world to learn what’s new, and make quality business connections.

    The Chamber of Commerce, City, CVB, Hotel Orrington, the EDC, along with a local firm (Arc Technology Group) have all been extremely supportive of our efforts to find a home for CMS Expo. We held past conferences in Denver and Rosemont, but decided on Evanston, due in large part to their very warm welcome and active support.

    Why did DrupalCamp come to Evanston? Well, we can only take partial and indirect credit for DrupalCamp coming to Evanston, which brought over 350 attendees from around the country last weekend. Many of the organizers and speakers of DrupalCamp (a 2-day learning conference centered on Drupal Content Management System), were integrally involved with CMS Expo this year (as speakers and sponsors).

    Naturally, they got great exposure to how a tech conference could run at the Hotel Orrington’s beautiful new conference center. They were impressed with the event and the great service at the Hotel Orrington. It didn’t hurt that two of DrupalCamp’s organizers (Tiffany Farriss and George DeMet, who own downtown Chicago-based web development firm, Palantir.net – one of CMS Expo’s sponsors from 2009) reside in Evanston!

    Call it kismet, but it worked out nicely for Evanston.

    Evanston is an ideal place to hold tech conferences. Great location, great conference center, great restaurants and shopping, great people, safe streets, welcoming and supportive business community; Evanston’s got something great going. It’s encouraging to see a coordinated effort from Evanston’s leadership to make sure those assets are well-promoted, to attract quality events to the city.

    That helps us all succeed.

    John Coonen
    Co-Host, CMS Expo Learning & Business Conference
    May 3, 4, 5, 2010

    1. Trade Shows
      As someone who has managed trade shows and attended many trade conferences, it is reassuring and a pleasure to hear comments such as Mr. Coonen’s.

      Instead of “towers” and more residential development in a “thriving” market, how about a push for more business and commercial? During the summer, NU must have unused capacity, how about cooperation among the City, NU and hotels for small to medium conferences? The proximity to Chicago airports would be an asset.

      What we have tried is not working.

  4. Conferences in Evanston
    In 2004 [planning in 2003-2004] I was involved with people planning a conference to be held in Chicagoland for July 2004. This was a conference that brought 400+ from all over the world, would be referenced by people in the field for years and brought a lot of publicity to Evanston.
    The organizing Committee tried to use NU facilities. However between the high costs NU wanted for Norris [and probably rooms in Kellogg]—remember this was July so you would think space would be plentiful—and hotel rooms in Evanston, the Hotel Intercontinental in Chicago ! It is sad when a hotel on the Mag-Mile can provide costs lower than NU and Evanston. Especially sad when the organizer was a famous professor living in Evanston and we had to bus to his place for a party—and people asked why was the conference not just held in Evanston ?

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *