Being a first time event, we had to make several hard decisions. Most sponsors want to wait and see how the first one goes before they spend the money. Attendees have a similar viewpoint. So we had to go with 2 partners who provide training courses on a regular basis here in Chicago already to ensure a break even event. Ask anyone who runs a conference, convention, training event, etc. They will tell you how lucky it is to break even on a first time event. Most lose money... a lot of money. I couldn't take that chance, because I literally bet my house on ChicagoCon.
So is it just for the rich? Maybe. But those rich people are actually the companies for which these professionals work. Rarely is it paid for by an individual. So this was our little way of getting some of that corporate money to support our event.
That being said, you are not the only one to ask. In fact, we've had numerous people ask if they could attend the keynotes and/or the evening presentations without doing a boot camp.
So how about this... PM me and I'll get you in.
For others reading this post, we have a little over a week before the event starts. I'm going to add a poll to see just how many people are interested.
Thanks and hope this helps,
CISSP, MCSE, CSTA, Security+ SME