Here’s a selection from what previous U2 Conference attendees have said about their experience.


“There was a fascinating range of participants — wonderful people from all over the world in attendance — as well as the excellence of all the academic sessions and plenary talks. Would it be insulting if I said that the program was far better than I expected? Indeed, it was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended.”

— Christine Chaney, 2009

“A chance to connect with long-time and just-met friends from around the world, a space in which conversation with complete strangers was always easy due to our common vocabulary, a great exercise for intellectual curiosity and the celebration of amazing music.”

— Angela Pancella, 2013

“The mix of academics and fans leveled the playing field, and the fans were often just as insightful as the academics. The uniqueness of the conference was in this blend of fan, academic, and activist audiences. None overshadowed the others but each brought their particular interests and specific energies to the conference. I had a blast just meeting other U2 fans from all over the world and from all walks of life. The plenaries were also first rate and showed a range of interests and approaches to the band. All the extras were terrific as well. Kudos to @U2 for their contribution too.”

— Daniel Kline, 2009

It was the first time I’ve attended the U2 conference and the experience was wonderful. I’m looking forward to attending again (or there could be a conference in Mexico City!)

— Helena Torres, 2018

“Having only attended purely academic conferences in the past, I loved the mix of fans and academics – indeed, I was surprised by the number of fans that attended just to hear presentations. Definitely the most inspiring, engaging and informative conference I have ever attended, and everyone was super friendly. Definitely worth the 25-hour trip from Australia! Great sessions and presentations, awesome crowd of people, great location, Rock Hall of Fame, etc. – perfect! What more could you ask for?!”

— Ed Montano, 2013

“All of the academic sessions were engaging and stimulating, however I most enjoyed Veldon Coburn’s post structural analysis of U2’s transformation from Joshua Tree to Achtung Baby. A wonderfully engaging, educational, entertaining and inspiring experience. Thank you for all your hard work!”

— Michael Williams, 2013

“I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I should’ve realized that whenever you get a group of U2 fans together for a few days, a good time is sure to happen. And it did. The conference was also thoughtful, educational, and even challenging at times. But most of it all, it was fun. A group of U2 fans getting together to talk about all things U2? How can you go wrong?”

— Matt McGee, 2009


“For me, it was completely bizarre because I’ve never done anything remotely close to an academic conference on a rock band, and it was really fun. I think you can have something really powerful here when you bring people together for a positive reason. There’s movement potential.”

— Jean Walton, 2009

Speaking as a serious lifelong U2 fan, the 2018 U2 Conference gave me “something I can feel!” As an experienced academic who has attended many conferences, I have never attended one that provided the same level of intellectual (and even spiritual) excitement.

— Diane Pennington, 2018

“It was absolutely wonderful. I heard brilliant, smart, talented people’s take on the band in new ways that I never would have seen on my own. I didn’t want it to end!”

— Amy Johnson, 2009

This is NOT your father’s conference. First-rate speakers and topics that are about more than just being a fan. This fan knows trivia about the band, but arrives at each conference knowing she’ll learn about music theory, sociology, theology, politics, art, statistics, and more. Can’t wait for the next one!

— Eileen S., 2018

“As is with all good sessions I was left with many new questions buzzing through my head. I thoroughly enjoyed the concept and delivery of the conference. I didn’t keep thinking is there a balance between academic and mainstream. Actually I think the strength of the conference is the way these strands interweave. The great thing about this conference was the possibility for wide interaction. This made the conference for me, rather than just being about academics presenting their own papers. The opportunity to interact with the group was excellent. I really appreciate all the hard work that went into this and the professional way it was delivered.”

— Chris Wales, 2013

The U2 conference was fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with other U2 fans in an environment that was both academic and social. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the non-academic programming such as the talk by Andy Rowen and the band December’s performance. I learned so much from the speakers and will be incorporating much of what I learned into my U2 class this fall.

— Dave Whitt, 2018

“The conference experience for me personally solidified the feelings and inspiration U2 has instilled in me through their music and involvement in the world’s toughest challenges. I have never been a part of anything as significant and groundbreaking as the territory we ventured.”

— Misty Phillips, 2009

The U2 Conference family is such a huge part of my tribe . . . it’s hard to put it into words. So grateful. Thank you.

— Lisa Marchal, 2018


“What really mattered was that this conference showed me that U2 can be an inspiration to live, to hope, to endure suffering and to overcome. And to believe.”

— Jens Nielsen, 2009

“The conference created an inherent community unlike anything I’ve ever seen before at a conference. We all had U2 stories, and it was just an incredible means to share not only those stories, but also to share with others what we’ve learned through being fans of U2. The conference overall was just phenomenal.”

— Catie Serex, 2009

The U2 conference was fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with other U2 fans in an environment that was both academic and social. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the non-academic programming such as the talk by Andy Rowen and the band December’s performance. I learned so much from the speakers and will be incorporating much of what I learned into my U2 class this fall.

— Dave Whitt, 2018

“Transgressing Theology: Locating Jesus in a ‘F—ed-Up World’’ was the most powerful discussion re: U2 I’ve ever witnessed. Pop is very important to me, in my fanship and personally, and it was mind-opening to consider it in the way it was presented. The ability to commune with other fans is a gift. Well done on organizing a compelling program overall.”

— Stacey Jaros, 2013

“I liked having Unforgettable Fire discuss U2’s approach to music making. I think that was a crucial part of the conference’s success.  I welcomed the chance to see the Unforgettable Fire documentary, too. I enjoyed the times at lunch to meet and get to know people. The breaks between sessions seemed conducive to continuing conversations started in the sessions. It was good to have critics and fans together. This conference brings together academic critics of U2’s work with fans who are caretakers of U2’s legacy. The fruitful exchange that occurs within and between these two groups makes for a dynamic, inspiring conference experience.”

— Ted Trost, 2013

“A real vindication of the importance of U2 in so many areas. Great people, and new friendships that will last.”

— Gregory Clarke, 2009

Andy Rowen’s presentation was phenomenal and the highlight of the conference for me. Belfast was a stunning location–absolutely amazing city and area. It was (by far) one of the most memorable trips and enjoyable conferences I’ve ever attended.

— Kevin Ott, 2018

“The conference was phenomenal. More than anything, I came away making good, new friends and strengthening my already huge obsession with U2 and their music. Honestly, the sense of community among the attendees was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced.”

— Joseph Kulikowski, 2013

I found a degree of vocational clarity at the conference. Or, ‘Why CAN’T I write papers about U2?’”

— Ruthan Freese, 2009

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