We regret to announce that we have arrived at the hard decision of canceling the upcoming RustFest EMEA Edition, the final event in this season of RustFest Global online conferences, originally slated for April 23rd.
Read on to learn about the background of the decision, or scroll down if you are interested in the practical information or have purchased a ticket.
After we, like many others, have been forced to cancel the next in-person RustFest conference back in 2020 we have joined forces with other event organizers of the Rust community under RustFest Global’s umbrella. We quickly learned that many of our aspirations of “a truly global online community conference” were bold, to a point where we had to create much of the non-existent tooling and infrastructure from scratch.
RustFest Global 2020 has been exhausting, but invigorating. It truly has succeeded in bringing together the wider Rust community in ways that simply wasn’t possible for a physical event — and so it wasn’t a question whether we wanted to follow in its footsteps. Given the extreme toll of that weekend on everyone involved, it was clear the globe-spanning single day event format needed tweaking, so we decided to spread the load between a couple smaller events. We also wanted better tools, an even better experience, further experimentation with some novel ideas. Then, there was the desire to expand further and involve even more communities, supporting them better. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is: all of this has required increasingly more of our time, a lot more coordination across timezones and, generally, a lot more energy. Energy, that we didn’t realize we didn’t have.
So laser-focused were we on the goal of “making the best of the situation presented by the pandemic” that we forgot that it was a pandemic, after all. Sooner or later we would have to face the realities of burnout, exhaustion and the ever-increasing work our aspirations demanded.
No matter how much progress we’ve made on RustFest’s infrastructure (the multi-language perpetual CFP, the world-inclusive ticket pricing, multi-language streams with live translation) the work still ahead of us seemed to have only grown. We have received a lot from communities around the world, willing to help make RustFest even more globally inclusive, only to find that we still missed the means of supporting them (translations, i18n and right-to-left language support, and many, many others), which piled even more work on our already jam-packed agenda. Despite having wonderful partners and sponsors who never stopped believing in us and supporting us throughout our journey whe had to realize that we had bit off quite a bit more than we could chew. But it wasn’t just us having to come to terms with the pandemic’s reality — the community itself has been reeling from burnout, isolation and online event fatigue. Talk submissions have dried up and we found it increasingly hard to fill the RustFest schedule with interesting talks and present a diverse range of ideas, by and for our global community.
Around the time we made the tough decision to cancel the APAC Edition, we hoped with more time we can come back to it with better preparation and make it a success — while on our ‘home turf’, we would fare easier for the LATAM and EMEA editions. By the time the LATAM Edition finally came together it was increasingly clear that we had to re-evaluate many of our earlier assumptions, we had to step back and think it through whether we will be able to deliver a RustFest EMEA experience that we would be proud of.
The thinking is now over and you are reading the distilled version right here. The world is still reeling from two years of pandemic-fatigue, and while this thing is far from over yet, it’s clear we are already hurtling towards some semblance of the oft-cited “normal”. Our goal throughout two seasons of RustFest Global events have always been to emerge with something better than what we had before — instead of returning to an “old normal”, inventing a “new normal”. Keeping all the good things that we learned over the past two years — a more open, more accessible, more international event with more diverse voices and ideas —, but also bringing back some of the much missed traits of physical events, the new friendships, unbreakable bonds, warm fuzzies and interpersonal serendipity that tends to only manifest with physical connection. In a way, just like how our online events were intent on not merely “trying to replicate what physical conferences were”, the future we imagine would be more than either online or in-person events, embracing the best of these worlds and merging them in an improved experience.
We are not there yet.
We have ideas, big dreams, and budding plans for small local in-person events meshed into an overarching global or regional event, showcasing local communities, made accessible on the world’s stage, but still having those in-person serendipitous moments many of us crave from the mythical “beforetimes”. We already had a couple exciting conversations with potential partners and members of the global community about how this would look like and how could we truly make this work. We are re-evaluating how we motivate contributors & how we better involve partners not merely as sponsors throwing money at an event, but as true stakeholders and close partners, contributing to the organization as part of their commitment of giving back to the community.
We need to regroup and figure all this out. But we also need to take a breather and acknowledge the exhaustion of the past two years. Whatever will come next, we will make sure when the next time we set out to write the next chapter in RustFest’s history, we are ready to see the journey through to the end.
So that’s the plan! While we take a bit of time, we will also make sure to tie up all loose ends, pay out all commitments from this season’s events and publish our final numbers in keeping with our pledged culture of transparency, with which we have also been regrettably behind because of *gestures* everything that’s been going on.
Of course, as always, we are open & eager to hear your feedback and questions, find the contacts below.
And now, some more practical information:
- You can still enjoy all published content from the rest of the season on our website
- The Rust YouTube has an archive of all historical RustFest content, including all recent editions
- If you have purchased a ticket and would like a refund, email us at email@example.com and we’ll take care of it
- Don’t forget to check out other Rust events & meetups that are happening: This Week in Rust has a weekly updated list
- If you want to join a fun developer event with our shared values check out Devs for Ukraine on April 25 & 26
- Earlier this week we (that is, RustFest’s host organization, the non-profit association Bay Area Tech Club) has donated $1000 to Devs for Ukraine’s fundraising effort, consider chipping in if you can
- With any other questions or inquiries, message us on Twitter or drop us a mail
We hope to see you all at a future event soon, and thank you everyone for your continued support!