“In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base.”

When Paul and Storm and Adam Savage and I had our first conversations about what would become w00tstock, we knew that we wanted to put on an entertaining show for our fellow nerds that would be successful enough to warrant more than the three shows we originally planned.

Sunday and Monday, we're coming to Chicago and Minneapolis for our sixth and seventh shows in less than a year (Minneapolis is sold out, but there are about 100 tickets left for our Chicago show), and that just blows my mind. I mean, I thought we'd do maybe two or three cities in a whole year, and by Monday, we'll have done six in six months. 

Storm wrote a nifty thing at the w00tstock website to let people know what w00stock is, and why we think you'll dig it, but you don't have to take our word for it! Here's a blog entry from a wootstock attendee in Portland who wasn't sure she was going to enjoy the show:

I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to relate to a lot of things.

And then we got there.

For what is possibly the first time in my entire life, I was surrounded by people who GET IT.  They understand blogging.  They got my cultural references.  They tweet.  We joked about being “I play a bunch of 3 letter words on Words with Friends because I don’t care about strategy, I just want to make words” players.  We lamented people who throw sheep at each other and ask for help growing their livestock on Facebook.  We compared our various levels of geek for different things.  I could use the word “Dooce” in a sentence with someone I had never met before and it wasn’t followed by “Whuh….? Is that an internet thing?”   I told people that I write content for websites and didn’t have to explain that it is too a real job. Will talked with people who appreciated his “Gamer” shirt and compared gaming stories. I admitted to one person that I know jack crap about science and was told “but you blog! That’s so cool!”

There were fans and geeks of every stripe there and it was just fun.  Nobody was trying to “out-geek” anybody else.  Nobody was trying to explain how their form of geekiness was better than someone else’s because of x, y, z.  Instead of “really? You don’t like that?”  it was “Have you ever tried [this]? I didn’t like that either but then I [insert suggestion here] and was amazed that I liked it after all!”

For the first time since we’ve met, my husband and I had the exact same level of fun at something we chose to do together.

In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base.  I was in a space with a few hundred other people who just…understand. It didn’t matter what particular brand of geekiness you subscribe to or if, like me, you don’t really subscribe to any particular subset.  We were there to have fun.  We were there to learn about cool stuff and hear awesome songs and listen to awesome stories and be introduced to new cool people to follow on Twitter and online. We were there to get our respective geek on. We were there to take part in the kind of thing we had always wanted to take part in but hadn’t because we’d had a bunch of people telling us that it wasn’t cool/serious/arty/enough.  It was amazing.

The best part about being a nerd right now, at this moment in time, is how easy it is to find other people like us, so we don't feel so goddamn alone and weird. My favorite part of being at certain conventions, like PAX, is that feeling of being surrounded by people who "get" me; it's that feeling of being home. I don't think any of us thought that we'd be able to recreate that sensation at w00tstock, but I keep hearing from people who come to the shows that that is exactly what happens. I don't want to overthink it or anything, but I'm overjoyed to learn that.

I don't know how long w00tstock will last, or if enough people will remain interested in it to do a full-on tour sometime in the near future, but no matter what that future brings, these shows we've done so far have been incredibly special to me, and I'm so grateful that I've been able to be part of making them happen.

100 thoughts on ““In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base.””

  1. By the time I got around to getting tickets for the Mpls show, they were sold out :( That’s what I get for waiting! Hopefully the Cities treat you well, Wil!

  2. It kills a part of me to know that I am moving back to Chicago just in time* to miss w00tstock. It stabs this part of me with one of those plastic cocktail swords and leaves it bleeding on the warehouse floor. Sadface.
    Of course, I am sad because I know the show will be hawesome, and that I will miss it, and that it will be hawesome. So have a great show and say hi to my beloved Chicago for me.
    *(Okay, I’m missing it by weeks and weeks, shut up.)

  3. I really enjoyed the show when I went, and I don’t consider myself much of a “geek” (not that smart!). It was a lot of fun, and like the blogger you quoted said, no one was looking to establish who was the geekiest or the smartest, so it’s a great show for anyone who’s considered “odd” or unusual.

  4. Sitting in the Seattle audience a friend of mine turned to me and said, “I’m not sure I’m geeky enough for this.” I blinked at her a few times, “Are you kidding me? With as much Dragon Age as you’ve played and the indepth stories you’d told me /about/ that? You’ll be fine here.”
    She was. We all were. It was awesome and I look forward to the chance to do it again some day.
    Thanks guys.

  5. Ironically, I’m afraid of feeling too incompetent a geek to attend PAX or Comic Con, et al. I never thought the sentence, “I’m not a cool enough geek” would exist, but hey look, there it is. So happy for your w00tstock success! Well deserved and well done!

  6. I want to go to Wootstock so flipping bad now more than ever. How do we poke and prod you guys with suggestions of which cities to go to next? (Like, ahem, Tucson or Phoenix)

  7. I am really looking forward to the MPLS show! I got my tickets just as the online store opened on a whim, and it was already half full. Holy carp indeed. Hope you enjoy Minnesota Wil!

  8. My wife and I have been counting down the days until the Minneapolis show for weeks now. You, Adam Savage, and Paul and Storm on the same stage seems like it ought to cause some sort of awesomeness singularity. But more than that, seeing all the YouTube clips and so forth, you guys all obviously take the show really seriously and care about it being good, and so I’m looking forward to a really high quality evening of nerdy goodness. As someone else who gets excited and makes things, I know that the doing of it is its own pleasure too, and that enjoyment makes it that much better — which makes you enjoy it more — and ’round and ’round the recursive loop of awesome travels.
    Looking forward to it!

  9. This was how I felt when I went w00tstock for the first time at The Largo. I had the warmest feeling when I was there. I completely felt surrounded by people who understood what I was into and why I was so excited to be there. I even ended up chatting a guy who came into town for the weekend and heard about it, while I was waiting for my friends to show up.
    That is why when Paul and Storm were looking for volunteers for PAX East I jumped at the chance to help out. And I continue to do so because you guys are doing a great thing for people.
    Wil I hope you all have fun this weekend. Unfortunately, with my moving from LA to Florida my funds are pretty low in July. It makes me want to cry that I will not be there to help out. But I will see you guys and be there to help out at PAX.
    <3 Becky
    P.S. Send my love to Anne.

  10. I am so very much looking forward to Monday. I thought I was going to have to wait for a Wootstock in New England (where I live) but the one in MPLS just happens to be during my vacation week… when I was planning on being home anyway! Home being all of an hour and a half from the Cities. And bonus: I haven’t seen the new Guthrie yet, so I’m looking forward to that bit too.

  11. I love that it’s taken off for you guys. I had a friend attend one in SF and loved it.
    I’m apparently in the black hole of nerddom celebration here in Kansas City and I wonder… how did you choose the cities and venues? Was there a group/promoter in those cities that requested you or did you seek them out? There aren’t any cons here, and we’ve not had a show like w00tstock. I’m wondering if it’s be worth it to try and bring a show here or just buck up and fly to one.

  12. I still hate the fact that these things are happening way too far from me to make a trip possible, but I’m glad they have been so successful for you:-) It’s important to have an anchoring thing like this in everyone’s life, and the fact that yours just happens to be so awesome for everyone is a great bonus!

  13. What a great description, I felt exactly the same way at the Seattle show. The quickest way to tell that there were all kinds of nerds was to glance around at all the awesome t-shirts. I saw some of my favorites from threadless.com, an awesome Skullcrusher Mountain shirt, and everything in between. It was fun and entertaining, with a comfortable and intelligent audience who was all about hearing from their favorite and soon to be favorite nerds.

  14. I was incredibly looking forward to the show this weekend in Chicago, but damnably real life kicked my plans in the metaphorical testicles. (My ticket-purchasing (will-call, in his name, his CC), car-ride-sharing best bud got summoned to the work-hell this weekend)

    You’re right, though. w00tstock and conventions like PAX (I’ve seen the same at Anime Central and GenCon) is very much like being surrounded by 10,000 of your closest friends, all who get it. All who are just as “weird” and “strange” as you are.
    I hope w00tstock continues, and I’ll get to make it someday. It’s been far too long since I’ve felt that feeling, and when you can’t warm yourself by fandom’s geeky fire often enough, it makes the world feel awful cold.

  15. We’re looking forward to Sunday’s show! Since we’re marooned in the middle of the country, we haven’t made it out to events like PAX yet and feel we are long overdue for some geek convergence.
    Since we’ll all be missing the Stanley Cup finals during the event, I hope you’ll take solace in our wish that the Blackhawks win the cup while you are in our fair city that night :)

  16. Will be in Chicago one week AFTER w00tstock. poopsicles :( Are you coming to any other cities in the Midwest anytime soon? Like maybe Cincinnati? (As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!)

  17. I think my friend Becky said it best:
    “I think I might have imagined that something like this existed somewhere, but I never thought I’d see it.”
    (She was speaking of her first Dragon*Con, but the sentiment is the same. When she and I are at Dragon*Con, and I’m sure it would be the same at w00tstock, we are home.)

  18. I’ve already commented in a couple of posts about how excited I am about seeing all of you at w00tstock on Sunday! I’m really only able to go because of my awesome, patient husband. We live about 4 1/2 hours south of Chicago in Indiana, and a couple of friends asked if we wanted to go with them. My husband has to work on Monday, but he is okay with driving me to the airport in Indy, so I can fly up to Chicago, meet our friends who will already be there for the weekend, and drive back home with them after the concert! This is one of those bucket list things for me, since I probably won’t ever be able to get to the West Coast events, especially since in about 16 weeks I’m going to be a mommy of two (a 4-year-old and one on the way due in Sept). I’ve convinced myself that this is an early birthday present to me from my husband. Thanks so much for bringing w00tstock to the Midwest! :)

  19. Ohplease ohplease ohplease ohplease ohPLEASE bring W00Tstock to Dallas! (Or Austin, Houston, OKC…anywhere within a few hours of Dallas). I will BRING the GEEKS.

  20. Dude, PLEASE bring this out to California! Me and a dozen of my RL buddies would show up! Moscone in SF (a 1-1/2 hour drive from me) would be awesome! I missed the Maker’s Faire (kinda by choice) but this sounds so much cooler (at least, to me).
    Peace and love,

  21. Co-signing about Austin, Houston, or Dallas. (Austin! Austin FTW! You could easily do the show at the Paramount Theatre!)

  22. Just so you know, thousands if not millions of us are hoping w00tstock continues for a good long time and gets to come to cities all over the US. Denver seems like the logical choice in Colorado, but if you come to Fort Collins instead we’ll round up bikes for all of you for the best brewery tour in the US. (At last count there were three great breweries, one decent pub style brewery, two mediocre breweries and one corporate mega-brewery — all bikeable from my house. But I may be missing one or two and I know two more in the works.)

  23. I was so excited when I saw that you were coming to Chicago. Then I saw it was the one Sunday night of the entire year that I won’t be in town. I’ll be in Springfield for a library institute, not nearly as cool or fun. Hope you head back this way soon.

  24. We are looking forward to welcoming you to Minneapolis on Monday! Thanks for bringing the show here. You’d be amazed the number of people I have run into who have been cranky that the show sold out before they could get tickets — maybe you need to do two shows next time?

  25. If there were a way to turn w00tstock into a regional con, it would be so, so awesome. The Portland show went on for FIVE HOURS and if I weren’t a lame person with a pacemaker I would have stayed for another five. We are STILL talking about it a month later. Thank you, guys, for putting this whole thing together. I wish we could all have basked in that nerd energy longer.

  26. O.M.G. That’s ME!! Wow! Thank you!
    Honestly: Thank you. Not just for the link and the quote but for, well, you. For Everything you do for all of us. I….just….well…..you know? :)
    But really. Thanks. Squee!!!! Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.:)

  27. Oh please please please come to a location close to Albany. There are nerds out here, I promise!! My husband would even voluntarily step away from World of Warcraft for an evening to see you guys! :-)

  28. I was at the w00tstock in SF (and you signed my ST Manga… thanks for that) and remember thinking similar thoughts. There were plenty of people around me talking about things that I didn’t understand or were not of interest, but we all seemed to work at the same level. It was nice to be around ‘our’ people for a night.
    Oh, and a return to the w00t womb would not be unappreciated….

  29. You are not alone in KC! My friends and I, who are also too poor to buy plane tickets, would love to see Wootstock within driving distance…Oklahoma City was the last place to host a con that I’m aware of.

  30. 300 people and a venue. That should get us a W00tstock. Time to crowd-source a show, methinks! :-)
    How about it, Wil? Would 300 people get you guys to the UK?

  31. I think you'd have to do a metric conversion to get us to the UK, on account of the expenses involved. I'm not sure what the precise number is, but it's probably at least two times that.

  32. I went to w00tstock in Portland with one of my best friends…she was super excited to go and I really didn’t know what to expect, but I went anyway. I’ll admit that many of the references and concepts went over my head, but that did not stop me from having one of the BEST nights in recent memory. I laughed so hard my stomach muscles hurt the next day, and I’m still talking about the cool stuff I saw and learned about. I borrowed “Just A Geek” from the same friend, and now, thanks to what Wil has done, shared, and celebrates, I feel connected to a whole new group of people, even if I’m not quite at the same awesome level of geekdom that others are. W00tstock was an amazing night, and I hope that you guys come to Portland again!

  33. *snif* I can not tell you enough how living in a small town encroaches on my geekness. I ache for the day when I can walk into a room and people just ‘get me’.
    *shhhh* do you hear that Wil? It’s PA calling.

  34. I’m very excited to be able to attend the Minneapolis show! I’m a bit concerned about my lack of geekness, and how I’ll fit in with the rest of the crowd, but I expect I’ll enjoy myself despite my deficiencies. I mean I’ve been visiting WWDN since 01 or so, dig Scalzi, enjoy MythBusters and MST3K. How could this not be a good time?

  35. I’m so excited to see what you guys have in store for us in Minneapolis! I still don’t know exactly what to expect, and I think that’s the best part of it. This was one of the few shows this year I could get my husband really excited about going to!

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