“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

“Exploring the many layers of U2’s creativity in formal and informal ways with intelligent fans from around the world was very enjoyable. Presenters from around the world shared thought-provoking insights into the band, and left everyone with more to consider and reflect upon. Thanks for a fantastic conference!”

— Henry VanderSpek, 2009

“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

“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

“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

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

— Ruthan Freese, 2009

“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

“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 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

“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

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

— Gregory Clarke, 2009

“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

“As an academic, I go to a lot of conferences. This is by far the strangest I’ve ever been to, but in all the best ways. This gathering is a perfect blend of pop culture and scholarship. The U2 Conference is a thoughtful, creative, imaginative breath of fresh air in a world of mindless fan events and abstract academics. More conferences like this that fuse theory and practice are desperately needed. Well done!”

— Tim Neufeld, 2013

“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

“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

“I enjoyed running into such a large, strange group of more or less like-minded people from various disciplines and orientations. I felt more in common with this diverse group than I do at musicological conferences. It was also good to make some contacts with others within my own profession who have interests in U2 that I was never aware of.”

— Paul Harris, 2009

“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

The U2 Conference logo and branding images by Beth Nabi.