What makes attendees and organizers of the 2011 EventCamp National Meeting unique? “I’d like to think that we are fearless,” says Jessica Levin, CMP, manager of communications and member services at accounting firm association Moore Stephens North America Inc., and one of five founders of the EventCamp series of meetings, the fourth of which takes place in Chicago February 11–13. “We are trying things that planners can’t always do in ‘real life’ because of the fear of failure.”

Specifically designed for event professionals looking to integrate technology and new media into their meetings and special events, EventCamp offers takeaways for planners with lots of social media experience as well as for the newbies. “EventCamp is unique because it is focused on social technology and engagement for events. Other industry events touch on other aspects of event planning, but we try very hard to keep the focus on the core mission,” Levin says.

EventCamp is also, she adds, “an experiment in event planning. It is always evolving because it is a playground for creativity. With each event we hope to push the boundaries of what is possible for meetings and special events.” This year, for example, organizers used a Web site powered by CrowdCampaign to allow attendees to vote on education session topics. “This was the first time we tried this type of crowdsourcing, so there were definitely lessons to be learned,” Levin says. “However, I think that the quality of sessions that came out of it proves that the process works.”

February’s gathering takes place at Catalyst Ranch, which calls itself “Chicago’s most innovative meeting space.” One look at the Web site, and you believe it! Imagine a funky loft apartment with mismatched upholstered chairs, hip accent tables, plenty of color, and … flipcharts. Booking interesting venues is part of EventCamp’s mission as well.

The 2011 EventCamp National Meeting is walking its talk by being a hybrid meeting: The event will be streamed live and archived thanks to support from sponsors Sonic Foundry, InXpo, and Core Staging. “We have learned that the hybrid component is critical and that portion must be top quality,” Levin notes.

Keynote speakers on tap include: Chris Brogan, head of a new media marketing agency; Liz Strauss, blogger and business consultant; Sarah Evans, public relations and new media consultant; and Hank Wasiak, Emmy-award-winning marketing communications expert.

Registration for live events is $149, while virtual attendance is free, notes Mike McCurry, CMP, co-chair of EventCamp 2011. Click here to register or get more information at the EventCamp Web site, which is also where virtual attendees will check in to get the link to the webcast.