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Frontend NE draws to a close


Frontend NE has been a part of my life for five and a half years; for all but one of those it was massive. Earlier this year, we announced it was time to stop once and for all, but it had come in stages for me.

I’ve written about how, on the back of 45 meet-ups and a wildly successful conference, I stepped back from the meet-up. Although it was a sad decision, it was absolutely the right one – in the summer, I had started to burn out and it was starting to have a real effect on my family.

We agreed that it would have to be fully ‘out’ as:

  • the other organisers wouldn’t know if they were able to sustain the meet-ups with one less person unless they were truly a duo
  • even if I wanted to help in some way, I needed to remove the meet-up from my day to day life completely

With the meet-up behind me, the organisation of our second conference was still well under way, so I was still very much not out of the picture.

But come the summer of 2019, after another amazing conference, the final email had been sent and the last of the invoices settled, we decided not to go ahead with another one. We all needed some time off. Organising a conference is a great experience but it’s also gruelling!

So Colin and Sam motored on with the meet-up while I kept an eye on the bookkeeping, accounts and general business operations as I always had. A steady amount of work, so I was happy not to burden the others with it.

2020 arrived and Colin and Sam decided the meet-up wasn’t something they could continue doing, and we all agreed another conference was still out of the question.

It was time.

I set to work contacting our accountant to find out the best way to close shop. We also had a hundred other jobs, from making the announcement to archiving the website, cancelling software subscriptions and closing bank accounts.

What a ride

The whole thing has been one hell of a ride!

  • Those exciting early days when it just kept growing, beyond our expectations
  • Meeting some truly amazing people, some of whom I now call friends
  • The thrill when a well-known speaker agreed to make the trip to Newcastle to talk at the meet-up
  • Creating a hub that the local frontend community could rally around
  • The huge financial risk, and stepping into the unknown with that first conference
  • The relief and satisfaction of a job well done at the conference after-parties
  • The stress of broken projectors, catering hiccups and one terrible sound engineer
  • Finding out a pizza supplier had gone under half an hour before they were due to deliver!
  • Difficult decisions like cancelling for snow days
  • Speakers pulling out the day before announcement
  • Keeping on going, and staying consistent, even when poorly, being made redundant, getting new jobs, difficulties in our home lives, or being just plain fed up
  • Knowing that Sam, Colin and I each had each others’ backs the whole journey

It’ll be something I happily remember for the rest of my life.

Not quite over yet

The coronavirus pandemic struck earlier this year, which meant we had to postpone our final meet-up on the 2nd of April. In early March it was getting to the point where large social gatherings felt like a bad idea, even if the government hadn’t come out and said as much yet. So there’s still one more meet-up to go!

We don’t know what it’ll look like or when it’ll be, but, having had some time to reflect, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be back for one last hurrah!

It might even be next year, but it’ll be good to see you after all this time, and great to be involved in making the final meet-up one to remember.

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