I'd like to go to my first LF, I really would, but I'm very hesitant because of the experiences I had at PF. To be fair, I did not camp at PF and only went over for a few day trips, but I'd be doing the same thing at LF.
I've heard all the "meet people on the boards first" and "just go up and introduce yourself" stuff. That doesn't really work.
I don't know if the organizers have set up a "new buddy" system, but I can relate to your experience at PorcFest and I've been to all of them.
At Liberty Forum, the best time to meet new people and have a conversation to discover shared interest is at lunch. Sit with people you don't know and ask "so, where are you from?" or "what brought you to liberty?" or even "what was your favorite session so far?" People will start chatting. Most of the time you'll be at a mixed table of locals and visitors, so there's enough variety to keep the conversation going.
Dinner tends to be a bit more cliquish but maybe not so much this year with the VIP seating. Similar idea though. And if you bought a VIP ticket, then you will likely be sitting with people who have something in common with you via the speaker.
- If someone asked a really good question or brought up a good point during a Q&A session, seek them out and ask for more info. Libertarians generally like to let everyone know how brilliant their ideas are.
- The exhibitors want to talk to you, so go ask questions. Most will be locals and can recommend local resources or even people to talk to about a particular topic.
- If you play a hand-held instrument, bring it. People will hang with musicians, or other musicians will ask you to join a session.
- Come to the welcome reception on Thursday night. It's relaxed, you can probably talk to some of the speakers and organizers. There's a bar.
- If you want attention, wear a really funny or provocative (but not tasteless) shirt or hat.
- If you have something worthwhile to say to the world, see if you can get on FTL or Flaming Freedom or the other radio shows broadcasting from the event.
- The Alt Expo has a hospitality suite most nights. Generally a wide variety of conversation and perspective there.