Bring back in person SQLSaturday where legal

  • Some of us are in states where SQLSaturday can be legally held in person now.  I propose SQLSaturday start in person events in such locations now.  Many venues in Georgia outside of the city of Atlanta may facilitate, maybe even some movie theaters with low expense rental rates.

    I have never taken part in heading up an event, but I am willing to help.

    To avoid having the Microsoft platform overwhelmed by others and possibly losing some of the Microsoft enthusiasm and support.  I would like to keep SQLSaturday focused on Microsoft technologies.


  • I agree 100%, I was going to create a post with the same theme, now I don't have to 🙂

  • As a SQL Saturday organizer, I can say that this is a huge challenge and not as easy as it sounds.  I personally miss in-person events and want them to return (very, very much so!), but recognize that they will not be anywhere near as well-attended as before until the pandemic is far more under control than it is now.

    That being said, I contacted many other organizers recently and asked what their thoughts were on hybrid events where there would be both an in-person and virtual component. In my mind at the time, a hybrid event seemed like it would be a step in the right direction and a good compromise between in-person and virtual.  I run SQL Saturday Albany and while large events in NY are not legal, smaller events are.

    The response overwhelmingly was not to do it.  Not because it was not possible, but because it created a huge risk-factor for the event that cannot easily be mitigated or planned for currently.  It added a great deal of uncertainty to event planning.  It also risked running afoul of laws if things change in the future.  The problem is that we know where things are right now w/ regards to the pandemic, but have no clue where they will be in 2, 6, or 10 months.  We are all hopeful that things will be much better and the numbers point in that direction, but no one can promise that.  For event planning, this is bad news.  Similarly, a majority of event organizers and speakers are older and have more concerns about in-person events.

    Based on this polling of many members of the community, we will either keep our SQL Saturday virtual in 2021 or choose to skip a year.  This is a difficult decision, but one that had to not be a personal decision, but one made based on facts.  I sincerely hope we can do in-person events in the future, but based on everything I have learned with talking with the community, the time has not arrived yet to plan them.

  • Personally, I want to bring back the in-person events.

    However, I suspect that Ed is correct. It's not really a question of organizing one, or being legal within your locality. The real question is, will people show up? And then, of course, the secondary concern, based on what's happened over the last year, will the laws change locally?

    While I'm really, fully, in favor of the in-person event, SQLSaturday or not, until the severe uncertainty of these questions gets answered, I wouldn't want to personally start the commitment to organize an in-person event. However, let me know if you are making that commitment. I'll gleefully work with my boss to see if I can go.

    "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood"
    - Theodore Roosevelt

    Author of:
    SQL Server Execution Plans
    SQL Server Query Performance Tuning

  • First off, I miss the in-person events a great deal.  Having said that, it is important to understand that they will come back in time, but it needs to be the right time.  I agree with Ed that now is not the correct time.  Things need to be taken slow and not rushed.  It will happen and we will all be there to see it happen.

    Now on your other point "I would like to keep SQLSaturday focused on Microsoft technologies.", there is a big world out there that data professionals play in.  Yes, I agree that Microsoft is so much better than others, but I've been dealing with their products for a very long time so that makes sense.  SQLSaturday is not all about Microsoft, it is about data professionals getting together and learning from each other.  This could mean AZURE, AWS, or what ever.

    I loved the PASS tag line (Connect, Share, Learn), that was what it is really all about.  We are a data community, not a vertical stack community.


  • I am with Grant and Ed as well. I have organized several of these in the past in multiple states and the first thing that jumps out is safety for everyone involved. The second is liability insurance for an event like this. I want in-person as much as everyone else but finding venues, insurance, and keeping everyone safe will be a hard struggle right now.

    A key thing to point out that most non-organizers won't know is that the event organizers take on the full risk for their events. This financially and from a liability standpoint. In WV I always tied in the local AITP chapter because in the past AITP was able to provide event liability coverage.

    It would be nice when RedGate goes forward with in-person SQL Saturday events that they find a way to help shield the risks individuals take on to make these events successful.

  • John, I still haven't presented a session anywhere in WV. Just sayin'.


    "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood"
    - Theodore Roosevelt

    Author of:
    SQL Server Execution Plans
    SQL Server Query Performance Tuning

  • While I greatly miss in-person events (Tampa does a great one), the one all-digital event I went to (LA) was fantastic as well. It felt like a "real" SQL Saturday, and had the added benefit of me being able to attend great sessions in LA that I wouldn't have been able to attend in person pre-COVID.

  • This is doable

    "both an in-person and virtual component"

    It is been done here in Florida: tech events with limited in person seats and much higher virtual capabilities

    Just knowing that the in person option exists is a BIG plus for me


  • In-person events require a venue, which must be reserved months ahead of time.  What is currently "legal" now could be deemed by the local government as "ill-legal" at the drop of a hat and, rest assured, it could be any hat.

    Even if someone had such a thing locally during a "legal" time, I wouldn't attend the way things still are and will continue to be for quite awhile never mind get onto the flying sewer pipes known as "aircraft".  I suspect that I'm not alone in that thought.

    I strongly recommend that remote SQLSaturdays should be the norm.  You could have a "double play" where it's both in person and remote but I'm thinking that a lot of people wouldn't show up for the in-person side of it, especially when they're in one or more high-risk groups like I am.

    I'll also state that SQLSaturdays and other events have been a bit of a disappointment in-person (and would be for on-line as well) simply because there are so many times when you want to attend two or three different sessions but cannot because they're scheduled at the same time.  Maybe having something like an SQLSaturday month would be a bigger draw.  In other words, have one set of sessions each weekend for a month.

    What you might want to do is have a look at the "SQL Friday" site ( ).  That's been working very well thanks to Magnus Ahlkvist and others.  Since Redgate owns Simple-Talk and SQLServerCentral, it would be really cool if they started offering live/recorded sessions like some of the "virtual PASS chapters" did.

    --Jeff Moden

    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

    Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • I will echo Alex's sentiments: now is not the time. The SQL community has a lot of tight bonds and no one wants to be responsible for potentially infecting others. SQL Saturday is for the community and having events now that could cause infection seems the opposite of that goal.

    Honestly we can have a full-stop right there, but I'll add some more.

    As a former Atlanta organizer, where the numbers were HUGE, organizing an in-person event is no small feat and typically starts many, many months in advance. I think we had about 20 organizers and 70ish volunteers at least 1 of the years (if not more). All running our butts off. If hunting for a new facility was on the list for a year, you can count on organizers getting together about 6 months before. Adding to it hybrid capabilities - that's a whole nother level.

    Lastly, I will say that in-person events right now are probably going to have a big ding with female attendance. You have many more having to be primary caregivers right now.  Remote access is not equal in quality to in-person attendance. I'd say let's please keep that in mind.

  • I can say that as one of the SQLSaturday organizers for SQLSATATL, we’ve discussed it and agreed that we’re not planning an event anytime soon.  Georgia is still having a massive COVID outbreak, and have a very limited supply of vaccines; there is not going to be a end to this anytime soon as far as we can see.

    We do discuss it every few months, but it’s not an option for most of the organizers. I’m not sure we could even get the event covered by insurance at this point, and certainly not one of the size pre-pandemic.

    A smaller event is feasible, but that’s also not something we’re know for :).


  • In-person events are an incredibly bad idea anywhere that isn’t New Zealand.

    Legality is not the issue: caring about the lives of other human beings is.

    Have some compassion. One of my friends died a couple of weeks ago and we are still grieving.

    To even consider in-person events at this time is pure selfishness.

  • Really????

    Are all of you advocating for this that dumb and willing to put many lives at risk?

    This just leaves me flabbergasted. Have you not learned over the last year just how infectious this disease is and how easily it can be passed on. The recent mutations of the virus that are now spreading around the world - yes even to previously uninfected New Zealand because it is that transmissable.

    Until this virus is eradicated there is absolutely no need, no reason and no responsible way to host an in-person event.


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