Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Unofficial Microsoft Ignite 2015 Party and Contest/Giveaway List

Looking for the Microsoft Ignite 2018 Party List? Go here
Last year I had a huge blog post on everything about attending the Lync Conference. Since I'm not from Chicago, or haven't spent any time there other than the airport, I left that to the experts like John Cook. So this year I'm focusing a Microsoft Ignite party and contest list for the benefit of all...

You'll see a serious bent toward Lync/Skype related activities because that is the area I'll be focused on and have the most connections to... but regardless of what discipline your event is focused on you can leave feedback or reach me on twitter if you want to have your event or contest listed. I'll also try to update this while at the conference as well in case there are any last minute things I come across. So check back often.



There is an MCT day on Saturday, May 2, 2015 from 12:30 to 9:30 pm for MCTs and MCT Alumni will be full of informative round tables, presentations and will culminate with a party in the evening. Registration to Ignite is not required to attend, but you do have to hold or have held an MCT certification. via @vladcatrinescu


TheKrewe is having a Meet N Greet event on Sunday May 3rd from 7:00 to 10:00pm. They currently are SOLD OUT but claim they will be releasing more tickets closer to Ignite. Need to follow their Twitter and Facebook feeds to get that information the quickest. The event is at Kaiser Tiger: Home of the Bomber. via @tiberGreg

Office 365 Network Mixer is on Sunday from 7 to 10pm. Let us give you a warm welcome to Ignite! Gather with the Office community for an evening of great company, tasty appetizers and live jazz by the Chris Greene Quartet as we all get ready for a big week ahead. First 150 people to arrive receive a goody bag and we’ll be raffling off great prizes. See you there!

One of the official Microsoft Events will be Ignite After Hours will be held each night from 8:00pm to 11:00pm through Wednesday according to the Agenda at select Hotels. Haven't seen an official list of which hotels, but will post once I see it.


Official Microsoft Ignite Welcome Reception by Microsoft in the expo hall.  6:15pm - 8:15pm

Event Zero/The UC Architects have a Unified Communications professionals party again this year (sponsored by UC Architects last year). Last year it was like the who's who of the Lync #ucoms world and we could all just mingle and chat. No loud music... no flashing lights... plenty of drinks.... and fun party games. It was by far my favorite party. The party will be held Monday the 4th of May, starting at 9:00PM (after the Microsoft welcome reception). Word is Ken Lasko will be MC this year. I think this might be the entire reason they hired him...

SPR Consulting is hosting a complimentary evening of appetizers, cocktails, and big thinkers starting at 7pm on Monday. Will be held on the 99th floor of Willis Tower where you’ll get an opportunity to network with like-minds, gain insight from our partners at their “ask the expert” cocktail tables, and take in wonderful views of the city. Each guest will receive a pass to stand 1,353 feet in the air on The Ledge. via @vladcatrinescu

Worlds Largest SharePint:  And the legendary SharePint tradition will continue at Ignite with what no doubt will be the biggest SharePint ever. Virgin Hotel Chicago Manor Room 7:00 P.M  (If you're a SharePoint person, do not miss this one) via @vladcatrinescu

Ignite Rocks is the reborn Jam Sessions from TechEd. All Ignite attendees are invited and if you’re a musician or a singer or just enjoy good music performed by your fellow attendees, stop by the House of Blues starting at 9 PM Monday night.

RightPoint is doing an Ignite Kick-Off and revealing an exciting new product and doing it at Shake Shack. The event is Monday May 4th from 8:00pm to 11:00pm and they say it is All you can eat and drink burgers, fries, frozen custard, beer and wine.

One of the official Microsoft Events will be Ignite After Hours will be held each night from 8:00pm to 11:00pm through Wednesday according to the Agenda at select Hotels. Haven't seen an official list of which hotels, but will post once I see it.


An Epic Partner Party to Celebrate Skype for Business is Tuesday, May 5th from 6:30pm to 11pm. They claim... Epic Food... Epic drinks... Epic views... Epic cigar rolling... All included. It is at Epic Restaurant which looks amazing. Need an invite for this party so go talk to your favorite person at AVST, Nectar, Plantronics, Polycom, ScanSource or TATA Communications

Petri.com/Thurrott.com is doing their 2nd Annual Happy Hour. The first get together was at Microsoft TechEd 2014. The Happy Hour will be held at Kroll's South Loop on Tuesday, May 5th from 5:30 to 7:30pm. If you RSVP AND you are one of the first 300 they have a Petri.com and Thurrott collectible beer stein for you.

scheduledMaintenance party by eNow had the coolest venue last year at the GhostBar in Las Vegas. I had some great conversations with people that I don't necessarily run into in my normal circle of friends. Being we have multiple disciplines of products going to this Ignite event... I expect this will be one that will have lots of new people for you to get to know. The party this year is at Vertigo Sky Lounge - 2 West Erie St and is on Tuesday May 5th. Get your request in early... and it doesn't hurt to impress @SchdMaintenance

Microsoft Learning is doing an MCP Party on Tuesday from 7-10PM at The Museum of Science and Industry. There is no details on any registration (details in April), but at some point I imagine you'll need to prove you are an MCP, which is not hard to obtain.

AvePoint is throwing a RED party at the Chicago Union Station. This one is geared toward SharePoint attendees they have things you need to do to get VIP access otherwise you might have to beg for a ticket at their booth. From the pictures on the page this party looks pretty epic.

Metalogix Best of Breed Party at the House of Blues on Tuesday at 9pm! Best of Breed Awards honor the efforts of individuals or teams who have significantly increased the value of SharePoint, Office 365 and hybrid solutions in their organization, advancing collaboration, productivity, and security through best practices and innovation. Get the details here.

Several vendors and organizations (AudioCodesJabraIntelepeerLync Users GroupPexip, and ScanSource so far) are co-sponsoring a party at The Field Museum Tuesday evening. This party will be by invitation only and you will need to talk with your favorite person at one of the sponsoring vendors or wait for the "Request an Invitation and RSVP" link when it is available and posted here. Last year this was the "Vintage Vegas Nights" party and was a very popular event. When so many vendors and organizations pool their money you know a good time will be had by all.

One of the official Microsoft Events will be Ignite After Hours will be held each night from 8:00pm to 11:00pm through Wednesday according to the Agenda at select Hotels. Haven't seen an official list of which hotels, but will post once I see it.


Protiviti & Nintex is doing a Microsoft Ignite Happy Hour on Wednesday, May 6th from 6:30-8:30 pm at The Godfrey Hotel. Enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails on 4th Floor Rooftop overlooking the Chicago Loop and network with other SharePoint users and SharePoint MVPs. via @vladcatrinescu

Bootlegger's Bash party by Thycotic has my interest piqued sufficiently. I am a sucker for good jazz (played bari sax in High School) and they plan to have specially crafted vintage cocktails. Sounds like a great place to mingle and meet new people to me. The party is on May 6th  from 7pm to 11pm at 19 East 21st Street.

The 8th Annual UC Roundtable at Microsoft Ignite has been announced. Can't say it is a "Party", but get enough of the #ucoms crowd in a room together and things are never boring. Billed as a free-flowing discussion about issues, questions, and experiences related to Exchange, Office 365, and Lync (Skype for Business) Server. Pretty much anyone that works with the above technologies is welcome to RSVP. The Roundtable is from 6pm to 10pm on Wednesday at Tavern at the Park.

One of the official Microsoft Events will be Ignite After Hours will be held each night from 8:00pm to 11:00pm through Wednesday according to the Agenda at select Hotels. Haven't seen an official list of which hotels, but will post once I see it.


Microsoft Ignite Celebration is on Thursday May 7th and everyone is already invited. Microsoft always puts together a top notch party for its attendees... last years Lync Conference party was at Hakkassan in Las Vegas... some pictures are on a my conference report. If you have someone joining you that isn't an attendee you can purchase a companion pass just for the party.

Contests and Giveaways

The Basics

In general, you should make sure you bring a decent amount of business cards. The large majority of contests and giveaways will collect those as a way to enter. It's also highly likely we will see some contests via twitter. So signing up and getting your account established before the conference is a good idea. It is also a great way to keep tabs on what is happening at Microsoft Ignite. You can search hashtag #MSIgnite to see the majority of what is going on. If you want to follow me, you can find me here: @ucomsgeek  I will be doing a lot of tweeting during the event and the #ucoms #skype4b crowd I hang out with is never boring

The Contests and Giveaways

Come by the Office Theater on the Expo floor at #MSIgnite 5/7 at 10am to see #TheUCArchitects record an episode. You could win a Surface!

Win a free Busylight at the Busylight Booth 417!

Microsoft Ignite IT Hero Sweepstakes. Nokia Lumia 830 phone for you and your "IT hero".

@Gradient says if you follow them for a prize... Winner announced on May 8th.

Bring your business cards to the Event Zero/The UC Architects party for chances to win gear

Vision Solutions is giving away a "Double-Take scarf" for anyone who attends their Microsoft Ignite presentation in booth 232

GSX is giving away a Microsoft Band. To enter the contest fill out the form on this page. You can also follow @GSX_Solutions to see some comics featuring #RobotUser every week up until the conference.

conceptSearching is giving away a free conference pass to Ignite. All you have to do is take a survey on how you use SharePoint, Office365, or OneDrive for Business and any challenges. Contest ends March 31st...

Looks like The UC Architects are going to have another giveaway this year. In the past there has been A LOT of prizes in this giveaway. I'll update with more information as I find it. But typically you just need to get your business card to a guy wearing a UC Architects t-shirt. While you are waiting for ignite... go listen to some of their podcasts. They are awesome for anyone that works with Lync, Exchange, O365 or practically anything else connected to the Microsoft universe.

Australians... here is your chance to go to Microsoft Ignite. Fancy joining the world’s brightest minds at Microsoft’s Ignite conference to talk cloud infrastructure, management, productivity, big data, coding and more? Sign up to the Microsoft Virtual Academy today and you could be in with a chance to win a trip there. This phenomenal prize includes return flights, accommodation, a full conference pass plus spending money.

The Lync Users Group is giving away a trip to the Microsoft Ignite Conference to an attendee of one of our winter 2015 events.  To enter, just attend one of our January or February 2015 events and complete your survey.  We will draw the winner from our nationwide events on or before March 2nd with immediate contact for the winner.  The winner will receive a full conference pass, airfare, hotel and a visa gift card to cover expenses courtesy of the Lync Users Group and our sponsors.

SolarWinds will be at Microsoft Ignite this year (May 4th - 8th) with buttons, stickers, and awesome giveaways in tow.  In addition, they are giving away 1 extra full conference pass worth $2,200.  You have to submit a compelling story of how SolarWinds has made your life easier and it has to be received by March 4th.


  1. Thank you for posting all this! I look forward to see you there.

  2. This is an awesome post! Thanks!

  3. Shout out to @SPCPartyPatrol on Twitter for their knowledge of after-parties - be sure to follow them as well as @vladcatrinescu, & @joeloleson for the inside scoop during #MSIgnite!

  4. Are you doing a new list for this year?

    1. It isn't clear if I'm attending this year. If I attend then yes I will have a list