The first PressCamp was held June 23-25 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Twenty editors representing 28 publications joined representatives from 19 bicycle industry brands to talk about and test products during the three-day event. It was time well spent, according to editors and manufacturers.
Representatives from both Gore Bike Wear and Gore RideOn cables were pleased with PressCamp. "I formed bonds with the editors that would have been very difficult otherwise," said Jessica Czipoth of Gore Bike Wear.
"I feel like I'm ahead of the game. Once Interbike rolls around, it will be like seeing old friends."
Lois Mabon of Gore RideOn said: "It went beyond my expectations."
Lance Camisasca of Lifeboat Solutions developed PressCamp to give bicycle industry companies a third-week-of-June, product launch platform in advance of Autumn trade shows.
Journalists had one-on-one condo meetings with manufacturers as well as demo time on 2010 road bikes and MTBs. There's a short action video of PressCamp riding and product demos here.
There were journalists from mainstream publications such as Men's Journal, Los Angeles Times, Wired, and Outside.
"Trade shows are great, but it's tough for editors to get more than a cursory understanding of products and companies given time constraints," said Marc Peruzzi, editorial director of Mountain Sports + Livingmagazine and a frequent contributor to Men's Journal, Outside,and Mountain Bike.
"PressCamp allowed me to spend quality time with a range of innovative cycling companies and then try out much of the gear the same day. Not only does that lend itself to immediate story ideas but it builds relationships as well, and such relationships lead to long-term story generation."
Exhibitors at PressCamp included Alpine Bike Parks, Blue Competition Cycles, BMC Racing, Cannondale, CLIF Quench, DT Swiss, Hutchinson, Lazer Helmets, Pedro's, Saris Bike Racks, Scott USA, and eight other brands. Camelbak, Mavic, and Timbuk2 provided product as official Gear Partners for the event (for that read tons and tons of schwag).
Scott USA - based in Sun Valley - had earlier taken some of the journalists on a pre-Press Camp camping trip on the area's world-class trails.
When PressCamp started, manufacturers held presentations in their condo apartments.
"I had a great time personally and found the PressCamp model to be really effective," said Chris Randall, brand manager for CLIF. "Meeting with that many media in just two days was really great. Then having product available for the rides topped it off for us."
PressCamp founder Camisasca was pleased with the event's first year.
"Everyone there said it was awesome," said Camisasca. "I look forward to making this an annual event to help bicycle industry companies showcase new products in an intimate setting and guarantee quality, focused exposure."
PressCamp should find it easy to recruit attendees next year. Carlton Reid, executive editor of BikeBiz said: "PressCamp was excellent. It was easily the best trade event I've ever attended; the riding was stunning; the intimate atmosphere helped form meaningful relationships with key people; and the mainstream journalists present show that this event will get lots of news coverage outside of the bike industry, a major plus for those companies that signed up for the first event."
It's probable that PressCamp 2010 will be held at the same time of the year, possibly at the same venue, although Camisasca isn't confirming that.
There will be a two page feature on PressCamp in the next issue of BikeBiz magazine.