A Journey to Nashville: Unforgettable Experiences at Laracon

Welcome back to the Wirebox blog! Today, we’re thrilled to share our incredible journey to Nashville, Tennessee, where we attended the renowned Laracon conference. As proud developers hailing from Watford, UK, we set off on a transatlantic adventure that brought us together with 800 like-minded individuals in the heart of the country music capital. Our five-day expedition was filled with enlightening talks, networking opportunities, and plenty of sightseeing in this amazing city.

Day 1 – Tuesday 18th July: The Beginning of an Adventure

Our adventure began with excitement as we arrived at Heathrow Airport, ready to embark on a journey of knowledge and inspiration. Spending the morning in the lounge, we eagerly boarded our flight, albeit a bit delayed due to an unexpected storm. Nevertheless, we finally landed in Nashville at 9 pm local time. Customs passed smoothly, and we made our way to the hotel to rest and prepare for the exciting days ahead.

Day 2 – Wednesday 19th: Laracon Day One

With a hearty breakfast of turkey sausages, scrambled eggs and french toast to fuel our day, we headed to the Laracon venue at 8:30 am. The conference which was held in the Marathon Music Works building kicked off with Aaron Francis warmly welcoming the attendees and setting the stage for a day packed with remarkable speakers.

Nuno Maduro

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Nuno Maduro started with a fascinating presentation on PEST 2.9, the most widely used PHP Testing application in the Laravel community. It provided us with fantastic new features for enhancing our unit testing processes.

Zuzana Kunckova

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Zuzana Kunckova’s talk on “The Curse of Knowledge” opened our eyes to the assumptions we make and the importance of helping others in the development community.

Joel Clermont

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Joel Clermont’s insightful talk on “Getting Unstuck” taught us problem-solving techniques that we could apply not only in development situations but also in various industries.

Matt Stauffer

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Matt Stauffer discussed the role of Laravel in enterprise applications, emphasising the importance of robust local seeders and effective tech debt management.

Ben Orenstein

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Ben Orenstein shared his journey from developer to founder, offering valuable tips on how to choose a viable business idea.

Jess Archer

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Jess Archer demonstrated “Laravel Prompts,” a package for creating user-friendly command-line interfaces that could revolutionise our command-line applications and make it easier for our junior developers to get started on their projects.

Taylor Otwell

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Taylor Otwell concluded the day with the “State of Laravel” address, summarising the day’s highlights, giving us a glimpse of what’s to come in Laravel 11 and teasing new Laravel package releases

After an insightful day of learning, we attended the After Party, held in a bar on Broadway in Downtown Nashville where we met fascinating individuals from a wide range of backgrounds.

Day 3 – Thursday 20th: Day Two of Laracon

The second day of Laracon began with pancakes for breakfast. Despite being exhausted from the after-party late night, we eagerly attended the talks that awaited us.

Caleb Porzio

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Caleb Porzio’s “Livewire 3” presentation showcased the latest version of Livewire, with live demos of its new features and integration with Laravel, using Laravel Volt.

Caleb also launched Livewire 3 live from the stage!

Jake Bennet

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Jake Bennet’s talk on “State Machines” based on how old pinball machines worked inspired us to explore implementing similar functionality in our development processes.

Freek Van der Herten

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Freek Van der Herten’s talk on “Laravel Data” dove deep into  a Laravel package we utilise on projects, giving us a greater depth of understanding on how we can fully maximise the way we use the package.

Diana Scharf

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Diana Scharf’s discussion on “Inertia.js” shed light on using this framework within Laravel applications and a new way of working.

Stephen Rees-Carter

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Stephen Rees-Carter’s engaging presentation on “Think Like a Hacker” challenged us with real-time audience interaction and a bespoke Laravel application to test our cybersecurity knowledge. The audience took full advantage of the live interaction (if you get what we mean).

Marcel Pociot

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Marcel Pociot showcased the possibilities of building desktop applications using “Native PHP,” leaving us inspired to explore new horizons.

Tim MacDonald

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Tim MacDonald’s talk on “Laravel Precognition” was a personal favourite, demonstrating live form validation and making our applications more user-friendly by adjusting the way we build forms to allow for validation errors to appear when they’re required.

Aaron Francis

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Aaron Francis encouraged us to share our work with the community and network, reminding us of the potential opportunities that lie ahead. A truly great end to Laracon 2023 which left us feeling inspired and delighted.

Day 4 – Friday 21st: We Became Tourists!

After the intense learning experience at Laracon, we took a break from technology and indulged in some Nashville tourism. Visiting the Johnny Cash museum, enjoying lunch at ‘World Famous’ Ripley’s, and exploring downtown bars with live music all day made for an unforgettable day.

Day 5 – Saturday 22nd: More Nashville Exploration

Continuing our tourist exploration, we took a hop-on/hop-off tour, visited Belmont University, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Ryman Auditorium. We finished off the day with a relaxing evening of pizza and beers.

Day 6 – Sunday 23rd: The Final Chapter

On our last day, we ventured beyond Nashville’s city limits, visiting the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg and the Stones River National Battlefield. As our journey neared its end, we reminisced about the extraordinary experiences and memories we’d created together.


Our trip to Nashville and Laracon was an adventure we will cherish forever. The knowledge, connections, and inspiration gained from this conference will undoubtedly propel us forward as individuals and a business. We’re grateful for the chance to share these moments with our fellow team members and excited for the future challenges and opportunities that await us back home in Watford.

Thank you, Nashville, for the unforgettable memories! Until we meet again.