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:

  • Transportation from NYC 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

The ticket does not include lodging but we provide a number of options to purchase or you can find one yourself. There is adequate parking at the conference center.

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.

Yes. Thanks to the generous support of AT&T, the entire venue is blanketed in WiFi. Of course, we hope you use it lightly and enjoy the conference instead of working, but its there when you need it.

This year, lodging can be purchased as a separate ticket from the event itself. The Ashokan Center provides a number of different options from camping, to shared bunk style lodging, to fully private rooms. Here are longer descriptions with photos.

You are also welcome to stay offsite or commute into the conference daily.

Sadly we can’t predict the weather, but last year it was very nice and comfortable on Friday and Sunday but a little on the chilly and wet side on Saturday. It’s 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 a free bus from midtown NYC to the venue that leaves Friday morning and returns Sunday afternoon.

Otherwise, the venue is a short (25 minute) drive from Kingston, NY and there is ample parking onsite.

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. Last year we had multiple kids of varying ages (2 – teenagers), some who stayed overnight and some who came just for the days.

Last year we tried to make the whole event all inclusive but this year in order to make it more appealing to local friends, the ticket and lodging are separate. If you want to just come during the days and commute home after dinner, you definitely can.

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

We’re on the lookout 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! Please email us at hello at catskillsconf dot com.