Dreamforce 2022: mega tech conference brings huge crowds, a 30-foot waterfall, and a puppy play area to San Francisco

A flood of Dreamforce attendees filled the streets around the Moscone Center on Tuesday, bringing 2019-like crowds into downtown San Francisco for the city’s largest convention in three years.

A sold-out crowd of 40,000 took over an enclosed building on Howard Street and all three Moscone Center facilities, with huge lines and pedestrian congestion outside each building. Conference halls and escalators were full of people, who seemed largely unconcerned about Covid, with only a few wearing masks. They were amazed by a sight that included a 30-foot artificial waterfall complete with foam rock formations, a puppy play area, and digital recordings of butterflies at the entrance, all intended to evoke the convention’s national park theme.

It was a mixture of summer camp, massive arts festivals, and corporate heavy branding — with tech-heavy companies like Amazon, TikTok and IBM all operating at extravagant booths on the show floor in Moscone South. Exhibition displays included a small ski lift with cartoon Salesforce mascots and a wooden camp. There were nearly six scandalous seating areas, radiating live video from the speakers and panels.

Celebrities including singer Bono, actor Matthew McConaughey and former Vice President Al Gore will speak at the event this week.

Derek Williams guides attendees as they make their way into the auditorium during the Dreamforce 2022 conference in San Francisco.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

It was the biggest Dreamforce ever, said Marc Benioff, Salesforce co-CEO at a press conference Tuesday. The company previously said there were more paid attendees at the site than in 2019.

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