In April I will be going to Las Vegas to attend Microsoft Management Summit 2013 (MMS). MMS focuses on Microsoft’s System Center family of products. I’ve never attended before, primarily because I go to TechEd every year. The range of products with which I work extends beyond System Center to include Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, etc., so it has always made more sense to be there. With the release of Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012, however, the idea of going to MMS is compelling. We’re probably going to migrate from our on-premises Exchange and Lync installations to Office 365 (where out students already are), so the scope of my Microsoft focus will shrink. That kind of change starts to tilt the balance away from TechEd and towards MMS. So I’ll be going to Las Vegas this year to attend for the first time, and I’ll see what all the fuss is about and see which conference makes the most sense to attend in the future. I can’t imagine ever not going to TechEd, but we’ll see.
I haven’t been to Vegas in a few years, so I’m looking forward to seeing what has changed since I was there last. CityCenter was still under construction, for one, so that will be new. I’ll be staying at Luxor for this trip because it is cheaper than staying at Mandalay Bay (the conference site) yet is still connected to it. It’ll still be a haul to get over there in the morning, but I’m used to taking the bus or walking when I’m at TechEd, so it shouldn’t be that much different.
The other trip that I added is in August. Mumford & Sons announced that they were going to have more Gentlemen of the Road Stopover events in 2013 like they did in 2012. Kristin and I were at the Stopover in Dixon, Illinois, last August, and it was an amazing event. When they announced the 2013 events, and I saw the lineup of artists this year, I knew I had to attend.
If you’re not familiar with Mumford & Sons, let me just say they are probably the single greatest band ever (in my opinion), and if you haven’t listened to their music, you should go listen to them. I’m not kidding, go do it now. Fire up Xbox Music or Zune Desktop or Spotify or whatever you use to listen to music and give them a try. As you can tell, I’m a huge fan, and probably a bit obsessive. I’m not ashamed to admit it.
The Stopover events were intended to be unique events bringing great bands to small towns that don’t normally host concerts like this. Rather than just going to the concert and leaving, there is en emphasis on spending time in the host cities, getting to know them and their residents and businesses. In some of the cities, there aren’t enough hotel rooms to accommodate everyone, so they setup huge camping areas for fans to stay. There are aftershows and special events before and after the concert. It really is a unique event.
For 2013 they’ve expanded into a day and a half format, added some amazing acts, and I’m sure will improve upon the 2012 series in more ways than I can imagine. I will be attending the Troy, Ohio, Stopover, because Old Crow Medicine Show will be appearing there along with Edmund Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Edmund Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will be at every Stopover, headlining on the Friday night before the main event on Saturday, but only US stop for Old Crow is Troy, so I knew that was the one. Kristin enjoyed the Dixon event last year, but one outdoor musical festival was enough for her, so I will be going to Troy on my own. A college friend of Kristin’s is going to meet me there, however, so it won’t be just me at the show. I don’t mind going to something like that alone, but it is always more fun when you have someone you know to hangout with.