The CMS Critic team – otherwise known as Mike Johnston and myself – were recently in Basel, Switzerland for the Magnolia Conference 2014.
It was set to be Magnolia’s fifth annual conference, and as Magnolia 5.3 had just been unveiled, we were quite excited to see how things panned out.
Mike and I covered both days of the conference in detail. Day one was focused on personalization, apps and a roundtable discussion, whilst day two was all about the unconference.
On top of blog coverage, we also live-tweeted the event from the ground.
Now though, I’d like to delve into the finer details of Magnolia Conference 2014.
A Cutting-edge Reception & Some Fine Food
On day one, attendees were welcomed to the conference by receiving their name tags, before being offered some food and drink, and an impressive Magnolia goody pack.
Included within the pack was everything from conference programs, to three-way USB cables to unconference cards.
What got everybody excited though, was the Magnolia-branded Swiss Army Knife, which were also handed out at the reception. It was a cool, unique and memorable conference freebie which got everybody talking.
Somehow, the concept of an all-in-one gadget seemed to suit Magnolia's brand, especially when you consider their open suite approach.
You can get cool stuff at conferences, but @magnolia_cms takes it to another level. Swiss Army Knife anyone? #mconf14 pic.twitter.com/ZirGz6XbdG
— Kaya Ismail (@EmployTheNet) June 25, 2014
There was a friendly and bubbly vibe coming from both attendees and Magnolia officials throughout both days. It was a homely atmosphere, which definitely helped encourage attendees to move between tracks freely.
The online environment was great too. Attendees were joining in with the #MConf14 hashtag, retweeting eachother, posting pictures and so forth. Activity on the hashtag was displayed on screens around the venue.
Now, Swiss Army Knife or no Swiss Army Knife, conference food can be a deal breaker. Thankfully though, Magnolia kept everybody well fed.
For lunch, a buffet was held in a separate location, not too far from the Pathe Theatre. Pasta, fish, lamb, potatoes and a wide range of desserts lined the buffet table. I certainly had no complaints. Later, at the Magnolia after-party, equally delicious finger foods were offered.
Speaking of the after party, that too held up a pleasant atmosphere.
Granted, the Church setting was – for lack of a better word – unorthodox. However, the presence of a bar along with a projector showing a live World Cup 2014 fixture quickly made everybody feel cosy.
A Third Day of Activities
Many were under the impression that Magnolia Conference 2014 was a two-day event. Not so.
There was actually a third day of activities on offer for all who attended, completely free of charge.
Attendees could engage in Yoga, mountain biking, hiking and even a Basel scavenger hunt. Once again, this was a rather unique offering, and one I felt rounded off the entire event very nicely indeed.
Overall, I can only speak positively of what I saw from the Magnolia Conference 2014. The company's representatives were friendly, the venue was comfortable and the freebies on offer – including all the free activities – were nothing short of fantastic.
Here's hoping Magnolia Conference 2015 is even better!