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A trip to BarnCamp 2011

On Monday the advance crew – by now known as the tat-down team and consisting mostly of Bristol Wireless volunteers – arrived back tired but satisfied from the rural Barncamp site up the Wye Valley.

Bristol Wireless erects a rustic wifi antenna using locally available materials. Picture courtesy of Ludwig van Standardlamp

Our journey began the previous Wednesday afternoon, when the advance crew got to site after a frantic best part of the morning and afternoon spent running around Bristol, loading the van with the kit and food that would be needed for setting up a long weekend event for a few dozen people.

Setting up started gently with our arrival on site on Wednesday, clearing the barn area so that work and catering areas could be established. Thursday morning saw us raising 2 tents – one for workshops and the other as the kids’ space. A neat touch to the infrastructure this year was the use of solar-powered LED lighting at strategic points around the site (e.g. around the marquee guy ropes and in the toilets).

A full workshop of events was held during the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, featuring talks and hands-on sessions with the Drupal CMS package, HTML5 and fractals, social networking with Diaspora, non-corporate email and lists, Bitcoin, broadcasting with Airtime, OpenStreetMap and many, many more topics. A couple of non-technical sessions were also arranged, including Ben’s ever popular wild food walk and Pete’s knot workshop.

h4x0rzz in hacktion. Picture courtesy of Ludwig van Standardlamp

Perhaps the greatest achievement of the event was the launch of Catalyst Radio. The final stages in its conception were put in place and Catalyst began broadcasting from site on the Saturday; this included the magnificent Saturday night entertainment, featuring live folk music by Adelayde, Martian and Mr Green, 90s sing-along karaoke by Mick Fuzz and Ana and her lovely acoustic guitar, music, to name but some.

A first for BarnCamp this year was the addition of board games sessions (Risk and chess), plus a DIY hardware hacking workshop, including tuition in soldering.

For a fuller idea of the scope of the event, see the HacktionLab website.

Finally, your ‘umble scribe on behalf of all the 2011 BarnCampers, would like to thank our hosts at Highbury Farm for all their kind assistance and hospitality.

2 Responses to A trip to BarnCamp 2011

  1. Ale Fernandez June 15, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Diaspora is all very well, but is all the rage here at the Spanish revolution… Did you get to check it out? It’s basically elgg (open source social network/cms) with a bunch of really cool plug-ins to make it into what Diaspora does, but much more oriented towards activism and participative democracy, decision making, non commercial-ness, etc.

  2. Steve Woods June 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    For those who wish to check out, as mentioned by Ale above,, although having some Spanish might be beneficial. 🙂