IMPORTANT UPDATE: Macstock 2020 Postponement

Making the Call… We’re Moving to 2021 2022!

*NEW* FEBRUARY 2022 UPDATE #2: Where we’re at with the next Macstock, what needs to happen before we can get together again, and a couple ideas I have for the Macstock community in 2021.Though I can’t confirm the dates quite yet, I’m now targeting July 2022. For details, check out my video here on the Macstock YouTube Channel.

Macstock Update 2021 and Beyond


FEBRUARY 2021 UPDATE: Due to the ongoing global pandemic, Macstock has been officially postponed to a future date yet to be determined. Estimated future dates below have been modified to reflect this update.


UPDATED: October 18, 2020 – Tentative Dates Temporarily Removed Until I Can Confirm Dates and Capacity Limits

This is a long one folks, but if you’ve been planning to coming to Macstock 2020, please read through to the end.

It seems so long ago now, but it’s only been a little over 4 weeks…TO THE DAY…since I launched the Early Bird Sale for Macstock 2020.

And it’s been just about 4 weeks since I posted the Macstock 2020 COVID-19 response page.

Since that time, I’ve received so many encouraging emails from folks who’ve registered for Macstock 2020 and told me how much they’re looking forward to a little bit of normalcy returning to our lives — and that Macstock 2020 was going to be their celebration of that return to that world.

It was that encouragement, plus the guidance of health officials locally, nationally, and internationally that have kept me cautiously optimistic throughout all this.

After all, it’s only been about 3 months since the start of 2020.

Which meant that, as of a week ago, there were still 4 months to go until Macstock weekend. Not even half-way to Macstock!

But with everything changing, quite literally, on a daily basis, it’s become increasingly harder to predict where things will be next week let alone July 25th.

So I made the determination about a week ago that I was going to set TWO Milestone Dates for Macstock 2020: April 25th and May 25th.

That’s 3 months and 2 months prior to Macstock weekend.

I figured one of three things would happen:

1) If things take a turn for the worse, then I will announce on April 25th that Macstock is postponed until next year.

2) If things look okay by April 25th, but aren’t markedly better by May 25th, then I’m postponing until next year.

3) If things ARE markedly better by May 25th, and I could assure a SAFE environment for Macstock’s attendees, then we might just be able to pull it off!

As the week wore on, it became increasingly obvious that none of those scenarios SHOULD play out. The decision needs to be made now.

So this is not the letter I planned to post today.

It’s the letter I have to post.

I can no longer simply look at the impact COVID-19 by itself will have on Macstock weekend, because even if the pandemic disappears tomorrow, next week, or next month, there are longer lasting side-effects on Macstock, it’s attendees, and our ability to come together for Macstock’s 6th year this July.

In the end, deciding to host Macstock in 2020 is about more than if the virus has run it’s course:

  • It’s about personal safety for you and your families.
  • It’s about financial stability for attendees, presenters and volunteers.
  • And it’s about doing the right thing for those who’ve entrusted me to bring everyone together each year in a safe, warm, and welcoming environment.

I want to assure everyone that Macstock is very personal for me and my family.

We’re a household of two small businesses, and bringing everyone together at Macstock by creating a fun, educational, community-focused atmosphere is a big part of what I do with mine from January through August each year. But we’re small businesses none-the-less and, like so, so, so many of you, this pandemic is hitting us hard. So Janet and I understand all-too-well the economic impact COVID-19 has had on everyone the world over.

But, in addition to that, I’ve PROMISED all who’ve written to inquire about Macstock’s status that I will do right by you.

So that’s what I’m doing.

As of today, Macstock 2020 is officially postponed to July 2021 (DATES TBD).

Read on for more details…

Coming Back BIGGER and BETTER!

Here’s what I’m going to do for everyone who purchased a ticket for Macstock 2020 (and those who haven’t yet):

  • I’m going to expand (the next) Macstock 2021 Weekend to THREE days so I can bring you even more of the amazing speakers who’ve submitted talks to me this year.
  • Everyone who already purchased a ticket to Macstock 2020 will have their ticket automatically transferred to (the next) Macstock 2021 and get those 3 days of Macstock 2021 at no additional charge. There is nothing you need to do for this to happen. If you purchased a ticket to Macstock 2020, this will automagically become a (future) Macstock 2021 ticket unless I hear otherwise from you.
  • To take it one step further, anyone who purchases a ticket to Macstock between now and July 26th, 2020 (the end of what would have been Macstock 2020 weekend) will attend (the next) Macstock 2021 at this year’s pricing!
  • Yes, the cost of a Macstock ticket will go up next year to account for that extra day, but not until after July 26th, so if you haven’t decided to join us yet, this is your chance to save really big on Macstock 2021!
  • Dates for (the next) Macstock 2021 will be finalized as soon as I can set them with the conference center, but I’m targeting Friday July 23rd – Sunday July 25th, 2021 (DATES TBD).
  • Finally, Macstock 2020’s refund window will be extended until further notice to allow for cancellations if you decide next year’s finalized timing doesn’t work for you.

I Still Want to “See” You in 2020!

In addition to “plussing” Macstock 2021 for everyone, I’ve been playing with ideas to strengthen the Macstock community for those days and weeks we’re not all gathering in the halls of the Luecht Conference Center, and I have a few things in mind that I’ll be announcing in the coming weeks.

Specifically, if you’re all up for it, I’d really like to do something the weekend of July 25th and/or 26th. Perhaps a free LIVE event?

Details are still very much crammed in this empty cavern of a skull I affectionately call my “head”, but as soon as I have some plans in place that I can share, THIS will be the best place to hear about them.

(I’m also open to suggestions!)

So that’s it for this time.

I can’t tell you how much it genuinely pains me to write this letter.

But it’s the right thing to do. And doing the right thing is the promise I’ve made to all of you.

PLEASE don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your questions, comments, concerns, ideas, or…just to say “Hi”. I will miss seeing you all. But even if we can’t see each other in person this year, we have next year to look forward to! It’s going to be a great one!

Stay safe. Be well. And thank you very much for your patience and understanding at this time.

See you at (the next) Macstock 2021!


Macstock and COVID-19

Current Status as of April 11, 2020: Macstock 2020 will be postponed to July 2021.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Macstock 2020 is officially postponed to July 2021. For more details, please see the following post:

April 5th Update: Milestone dates added.

There are two new “milestone” dates for Macstock 2020: April 25th and May 25th. These are new Major Go / No Go Dates for Macstock and represent 3 months and 2 months prior to Macstock 2020 Weekend.

With the rapid spread of COVID-19 abroad and here in the United States, I’ve been monitoring the situation very closely the past few weeks, watching what other conferences & events scheduled for this summer are doing, speaking with local health officials here in my area, as well as taking counsel from organizations such as the World Health Organization and the CDC.

At the moment, Macstock 2020 will be held as scheduled.

As news of the pandemic continues to change (seemingly on an hourly basis), so might the plans for Macstock 2020. Rest assured, I will continue to keep a very close eye on the situation, and I will act responsibly for the health and safety of everyone within the Macstock community.

This page will be updated as the situation evolves. Thank you all very much for your patience and understanding.


UPDATED 03/22/2020: added link to Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings

UPDATED 03/15/2020: added latest mass gathering guidance from the CDC

UPDATED 03/15/2020: added statement from Illinois Department of Public Health


Actions I’m Taking for Macstock 2020 in Response to COVID-19

  1. Making a “Go/No Go” decision each week as we get closer to Macstock 2020.
  2. Cap Macstock ticket sales at 60% capacity of the conference center, so Macstock attendees can spread out comfortably.
  3. “Permanent” Early Bird pricing so nobody is pressured into deciding to attend before they’re ready to.
  4. Limit number of attendees who can enter the breakout room to 50% capacity for deeper dive sessions.
  5. Working with our venue to reinforce best practice health and food handling protocols including frequent and proper hand washing.
  6. Establishing proper hygiene protocols for all volunteers and attendees.
  7. Providing all Macstock volunteers educational material on recognizing symptoms and preventive measures for COVID-19.
  8. Asking attendees and volunteers to stay home if they are sick, showing symptoms of possible illness, or have potentially been exposed to the virus within 2 weeks (14 days) of Macstock. For those who are/may be affected, providing options for transferring your ticket to Macstock 2021, donating/transferring your ticket to another attendee, or obtaining a refund.
  9. Working with McHenry County Department of Health, WHO, and CDC for guidance as we move closer to Macstock weekend.
  10. Developing a postponement plan for Macstock 2020.


03/22/2020: ADDED Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings

03/15/2020: Statement from Centers for Disease Control on Mass Gatherings

The CDC issued the following directive on Sunday, March 15th:

Guidance as of 3/15/2020

…in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

With two weeks left to go in March, all of April, and then half of May to hit the CDC’s 8 week mark, it looks like we’ll have yet another 8-10 weeks after this recommended cancellation period until Macstock 2020 Weekend. I’m hopeful, of course, the COVID-19 outbreak will weaken by the end of this 8 week recommendation period and we can run as planned.

If it becomes necessary to do so, I don’t want to make the postponement/cancellation of Macstock a last-minute scramble for anyone, so I will be watching developments and make a decision that will have the least impact on the Macstock Community.

03/15/2020: Statement from Illinois Department of Public Health

I received the following statement via email in response to my direct question regarding Macstock 2020:

In Illinois, all large-scale events exceeding 1,000 individuals must be cancelled until April 11. We are encouraging that community events of 250 or more be cancelled or postponed until May 1, including personal and social events. Citizens should consider this in their personal lives and consider refraining from attending events of this size if they are not cancelled or postponed.

I consider this is a fluid statement and subject to change. Again, I will continue to seek guidance as we get closer to Macstock 2020.


Here are a Few Resources and Metrics I’ve Been Using

  1. Updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC
  2. Organizations and Events within the US similar to Macstock (WordCamps, Local User Groups) that have canceled gatherings and events scheduled for late June and beyond.
  3. Local community recommendations, Macstock’s partners (conference center, hotels, and caterers), and, of course, the Macstock Community’s thoughts and sentiment.

Helpful Links and Resources

  1. Basic Protective Measures against the Coronavirus (via World Health Organization)
  2. How to Protect Yourself (via the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  3. Statement from Hilton on the Coronavirus (Hilton is the parent company of Macstock’s preferred partner hotel, the Hampton Inn of McHenry)
  4. Statement/Travel Advisory from IHG on the Coronavirus (IHG is the parent company of Holiday Inn, a partner hotel of Macstock 2020)
  5. Master List Of All Major International Airline Coronavirus Change And Cancellation Policies (continually updated – via Forbes)
  6. US airlines are waiving fees and canceling flights as coronavirus spreads (continually updated – via Vox)