Many of you have reached out to ask why we are not doing a hybrid conference, or an in-person event with low participant counts, considering other conferences are taking the same approach.
After careful consideration, which included discussions on the state of the U.S. infection rates, international travel, vaccine distribution, and conversations with BSLV participants, the BSides Las Vegas Board of Directors decided to make this year’s event a virtual one. We decided to make this go/no-go decision early out of a sense of obligation to our staff, vendors, and the hotels. While we would much rather hold an in-person event, the lack of certainty surrounding the wisdom of large gatherings this summer was too deep – requiring and confirming full vaccination status1, enforcing mask wearing, and reducing venue capacity would be problematic for a number of reasons and wouldn’t fully mitigate the risk. We are simply not willing to be a cause of the spread of infection.
We know for certain that many participants are immunocompromised, or have loved ones who are, and, until the vaccine is rolled out to everyone and the variants are less of an issue, asking them to expose themselves to risk was a non-starter. Speaking of which, several key staff come from outside the United States in order to help run BSLV, and their participation would be limited, if even possible at all, considering travel restrictions. Additionally, corporate travel policies would limit whether people would be able to attend, either as representatives of sponsoring organizations or as individuals. As a non-profit, the lack of corporate sponsorships would make running our event the way we normally do an impossibility.
We know that some of you would rather we come together in Las Vegas, but for health and safety reasons, we decided a virtual event was the best path forward. Rest assured we are carefully crafting an online event with the same energy and fun we bring to everything we do. We eagerly anticipate finally being able to see everyone next year.
The dates for this virtual event will be July 31 – August 1, 2021.
1 Recent CDC guidance regarding large gatherings, even among vaccinated people, is still to avoid large indoor gatherings.