Frequently Asked Questions

The conference founders had a collective dream to bring smart and creative people together in a natural setting close to where we live and try to inspire and motivate them to create new and amazing things. We ourselves are captivated by the beauty of the Hudson Valley and wanted to share that with an intimate group of like minded individuals. We also want to make it clear to our community and the world that this area is full of talented people and is an emerging center for art and technology.

We feel that the venue that we’ve selected, The Ashokan Center, could not be a more perfect setting for the gathering that we’re having. The center is a beautiful collection of rustic building set against a set of hills and next to a creek with views of the Catskills mountains. We’re hoping that we’ll get to be there in peak leaf viewing season, too. The center is setup to provide a lot of the basics for us: food, lodging, indoor theatre, open space, and more. It’s often used as a retreat center for schools, Yoga groups, bird watchers, and music gatherings (like the Hoot). We’re planning on taking advantage of all that the venue has to offer.

We’re aiming to keep the conference intimate this year as it’s our first time putting on an event of this scale. We’ll be capping the tickets at around 130 people. We’re hoping that it’s a small enough group that everyone can reasonably introduce themselves to almost everyone else. This means great access to our speakers, organizers, and the venue’s facilities.

An individual ticket covers:

  • Sleeping accommodations in one of the shared lodge spaces for Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Transportation from Kingston, NY to the venue on Friday and back on Sunday
  • All meals from Friday lunch to Sunday Breakfast and non stop snacks and coffee.
  • Open bars on Friday and Saturday nights featuring local Beer, Spirits and other beverages.
  • Access to the talks, activities, and parties throughout the conference

A family ticket covers:

  • Sleeping accommodations for up to 2 Adults and 2 children.
  • Transportation for up to 2 Adults and 2 children from Kingston, NY to the event on Friday and returning Sunday.
  • All meals for up to 2 Adults and 2 children from Friday lunch to Sunday breakfast and non-stop snacks and coffee in-between.
  • Access to the talks, activities, and parties throughout the conference

If you must cancel for any reason, please notify us by email by October 1, 2015. Your registration fee will be refunded less a 25% per person processing fee. No refunds will be made after this date for any reason. Substitutions may be made by email until October 15, 2015. After this date, all substitutions must be made through email to the organizers.

We’re going to make every effort to provide delicious and healthy options for every meal and snack. If you have dietary restrictions, please let us know when purchasing a ticket so we can do our best to get you awesome food. We care a lot about making the food great and that means fresh, local, and having options for everyone.

We very much appreciate that. Please let us know when purchasing a ticket so we can get a sense of what kind of beverages we need to supply. If there are special drinks that you’d like to see, suggest them – we’ll try our best to hook it up. We’ll definitely have tons of Tea, Apple cider, and other soft-drinks.

CatskillsConf is going to be a very unique tech conference, probably unlike any you’ve been to in the past. Though we are going to have talks, they are not the only focus. We are also trying to attract people from as many disciplines and technical backgrounds as possible so this is not a conference that is going to have a lot of deep technical content in a specific area of interest. Instead we’re going to have a small number (<10) of short and medium length talks from a diverse group of speakers in art, tech, music, food, and somewhere in between.

On Saturday afternoon we’re going to switch from talks to small group workshops and demonstrations that attendees will select before-hand. Some of the activities include: A cooking demonstration, Foraging and hiking in the woods, a Blacksmith workshop, and more. Every attendee will get to attend two different activities.

On top of that there will also be the more informal aspects of the event: Live music, Food, and access to the venue and the amazing wilderness that surrounds it.

Most of all, our hope is that attendees leave inspired and ready to conquer the world on their terms.

Because of the small size and scope of this years conference, we are selecting and inviting speakers from the local area and elsewhere who we think match most closely our goal and who inspire us with their work. We have started to contact our speakers and work to confirm their participation. We’ll be updating the site as we confirm them. If you think you deserve to be heard or have something really interesting to say or have someone that you would love to see speak, feel free to contact us.

We will be filming all the talks and festivities and depending on how the talks and video come out, we will hopefully release them soon after with the permission of the speakers.

That’s awesome. We love highly technical conferences, too. CatskillsConf is not going to be highly technical but we will have a group of very technical and talented attendees who I’m sure will be happy to talk shop. We’re trading off having deeply technical content for deeply inspiring content that is applicable to a hopefully wider and more diverse audience. If you’re interested in a highly technical conference, check out StrangeLoop.

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: WiFi is REALLY hard, especially in a remote venue like the Ashokan Center.

We’re going to do our best to have suitable WiFi throughout the conference, though we hope you spend more time outside and with the other attendees then on your computer or phone.

The main lodgings of the Ashokan Center are “long hall” style rooms with rows of bunk beds.

This is definitely more “camp” then the “ritz” but the beds are all very new, clean, and comfortable. We’ll be splitting the halls into different groups including people who want to stay in a “Women Only”, “Men Only”, or “No preference”, that you’ll select when purchasing a ticket.

If you want to attend but really “can’t even” with a bunk bed, we’ll be providing add on tickets for rooms in nearby hotels and will provide transportation as part of the additional hotel cost.

If you’re purchasing a family ticket, we have a couple private rooms with multiple beds reserved.

Sadly we can’t predict the weather, but last year (2014) it was a high of 61F and a low of 48F at night. Thats a little brisk so we hope people bring appropriate clothes. Its a little too cold to swim, but it will definitely be warm enough to spend time outside by roaring fires. The buildings are all well heated and we’ll adapt as best as possible to whatever we get. The tradeoff is we should have beautiful trees to look at.

We’ll be providing transportation (shuttle buses) from Kingston, NY to the venue on Friday and back on Sunday. It’s your responsibility to get to Kingston but that is very easy from NYC via a frequent bus from Trailways, NY. There is also parking at the venue if you want to drive.

Yes! Please! We’re trying to make the entire weekend as family friendly as possible. We hope that the talks will actually be interesting to people from any background and most of the activities will be accessible to kids. We’ll also work with you to figure out child care during the talks and at night if necessary.

We really want to have local people attend! Having said that, the large majority of the cost of the ticket (read >90%) has nothing to do with the lodging arrangements. Most of the costs are food, activities, and general logistics. So if you’re local and would rather sleep in your own bed, that’s totally understandable, but we’d still like you to buy a regular ticket. We also encourage you to stay over so you can enjoy the full experience.

We understand! We’ll be offering a set of subsidized tickets as part of a student and diversity scholarship program for the event. If you’re interested in receiving a subsidized ticket, please contact us.

That is not that surprising. Feel free to contact us.

We’re on the look out for helpful volunteers who can work throughout the weekend doing various tasks. If you have special skills in event organization or coordination, let us know! We’ll give all volunteers free passes to the weekend.