To start, from the moment we arrived in Chemnitz, despite the drab post industrial post communist palor, the experience was nothing but friendly. The hotel staff at the Mercure hotel were genuinely cheerful and pleasant and the atmosphere at the event was incredibly relaxed and open. It was a bit more challenging to communicate because naturally English isn't spoken as well in Chemnitz as in Berlin, but sometimes a smile on your face is more important than your fluency of language.
Like i said, the atmosphere was great. It didn't feel in the slightest way commercialised or business oriented, although there were business present, of course. Instead it had more of that open fair feeling, with whole families wandering around, a place for the kids to play, areas to socialise in, and even a magician at the social event. Even the floor was open, with a minimum of security, even at 2 in the morning, rather than closing down exactly at 6pm. The staff provided constant food for the booth staff, volunteers, and everyone else involved; it almost felt like a lan party rather than a serious conference.
At the same time, the attitude there was very professional. It was a great opportunity to sit down and talk about all sorts of business with people i don't see that often. The entire setup was very well organised, down to the germanically precise tape and cabling on the floor between the booths, smooth working internet, and large screens announcing the current and upcoming presentations. It's only a shame i was busy with meetings that i didn't have a chance to see any lectures.
I really hope i will be able to go next year. This is not an event to miss. That, nor the giant 10 meter tall bust of Karl Marx around the corner from the hotel.