DEF CON is one of the oldest continuous running hacker conventions around, and also one of the largest.
Originally started in 1993, it was a meant to be a party for member of “Platinum Net”, a Fido protocol based hacking network out of Canada. As the main U.S. hub I was helping the Platinum Net organizer (I forget his name) plan a closing party for all the member BBS systems and their users. He was going to shut down the network when his dad took a new job and had to move away. We talking about where we might hold it, when all of a sudden he left early and disappeared. I was just planning a party for a network that was shut down, except for my U.S. nodes. I decided what the hell, I’ll invite the members of all the other networks my BBS (A Dark Tangent System) system was a part of including Cyber Crime International (CCI), Hit Net, Tired of Protection (ToP), and like 8 others I can’t remember. Why not invite everyone on #hack? Good idea!
That was taken from the Defcon page at http://www.defcon.org/html/links/dc-faq/dc-faq.html, it looks an awesome event, don’t believe me, well here’s a documentary about the 20th Anniversary event. I hope to make one of these one day.