Running a Release Party
Welcome to this short guide on how to run a release party. Ubuntu has an incredible community and if there is one thing we love, it is a good event. Why not celebrate the release of a new Ubuntu version with a release party?
How it works
A release party is most typically an event that is organised for the evening of the day that a new Ubuntu version is released. This party can take many different forms, and include one or more of the following activities:
- General socialising - getting people together to chat socially, possibly over a few drinks or dinner.
- Talks - presentations given about Ubuntu and the new release. In many cases key figures or contributors are invited to speak at release parties.
- Demos - the release party could be used as a means to invite non-Ubuntu users to come and see a demo of how Ubuntu works.
Preparing for the party
Before you go ahead you should check if there is already a party near you, check the Ubuntu LoCo Team Directory
To get started, you will first need to decide what you want to do at your party. Most typically, a party involves lots of socialising time with one or two talks. This often takes place in either a bar, university, at someones house or some other kind of venue.
While you prepare for the event, you will need to first decide on a few core ingredients for your party. This includes:
Organisers - Who will help you organise the party? - You should ask a few people you know to help you organise the party. More hands available to help will always make it easier. A great place to find people is your local Ubuntu LoCo Team.
Date - What date will you hold it on? - The vast majority of release parties are held on the day of the next Ubuntu release. Some parties though, are held on a different day. Which date do you want to pick?
Venue - Where will you hold your party? - When thinking of the venue, try and find somewhere that will provide a room for free. Bars/pubs are good choices as you could just pick a place and have people arrive there. If choosing someones house, bear in mind that their address will need to be publicised - make sure they are happy with this. You can find the details of suitable venues near you on the Ubuntu LoCo Directory
When your party venue and dates are confirmed, be sure to do the following to confirm your party:
Add it to the LoCo Directory. Add your party to the LoCo directory.
Annouce it. Post to loco-contacts (subscribe at https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/loco-contacts) and let everyone know about your party.
Additional steps. Check out the current Release Parties page if there is anything else that needs done.
The next step is to plan what you want to do at the party. If you just want to get lots of people together to celebrate the release socially, this is simple. Just specify the date, time and location and tell people to be there.
If however you want to have some talks or organise a dinner, you should schedule that into the evening. As an example, you may want the party to begin at 7pm and then have the first talk at 8pm, the second talk at 8.30pm and then social discussion and drinks for the rest of the evening.
If you want to organise a dinner, this is more complicated. You will need to first find a restaurant that caters to the tastes of your guests, then make a booking for the number of people that you want to attend, and then gather payment from each of the attendees for the meal. You may also need to pay a deposit for a large group. Structured dinners are often not the best release parties as people cannot easily get up and move around to chat with different people, and for very large parties, the food can take far too long to come out due to the number of people there.
With your party all set to go, you should spend a lot of energy publicising it. There is no point having a party if no-one knows about it! You can do a lot of publication online, but you should also get out into your local area and do some publicity there too. Here are some suggestions:
Blog It - regularly blog about your party, how you are organising it, when it is and how incredibly cool it is going to be. Use microblogging as well. Get people excited about it!
Write an article for websites - write up an article about your party and see if any websites will post it. There are lots of Ubuntu and general Linux and Free Software websites that are sure to publish it.
Add it to your email signature - add your release party details to your email signature - then you are promoting with every email you send!
Mention it on loco-contacts - make a point of letting the LoCo community know about the party on the loco-contacts mailing list (you can subscribe at https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/loco-contacts)
make sure your event appears on the Ubuntu LoCo Team Directory
Contact computer magazines - contact computer magazines, particularly Linux and Open Source ones) to get your party listed on the events page.
Contact your local newspaper - your local newspaper may be interested in publishing a short article or mention of the party - send them an email to see!
Produce fliers - produce some paper fliers (pieces of paper that advertise your party) and go and hand them out at computer shops, trade fairs, or just out on the street.
Produce banners - a release party is a good chance to create a banner for your LoCo team, which you'll be able to use in other events as well.
A release party is a great way to celebrate Ubuntu, have a fun evening and meet interesting people. With such an incredible community all over the world, we are keen to have parties worldwide celebrating a release. Lets make it happen!