I'm at Laracon 2014 in NYC, and as I predicted, it's a little overwhelming - in Lower Manhattan, seeing in-person all of these people I've been following and learning from the last year or so, and listening to really smart people talk about stuff which, in some cases, is a little over my head. But it's all good, in spite of a few kinks with the venue.
I think I fully grasped/comprehended about 50% of the talks, which is fine. That's probably a better percentage than some design patterns books I've read the first time thru. Taylor Otwell's keynote was an exception in that I fully understand the headaches with dev environments and deployment, so Homestead and Forge providing the "artisan"-like bookends to developing with Laravel makes perfect sense. I hope that Forge can (eventually) work with existing VPS environments to some degree, as I don't deploy new environments often, but would love to use it for some existing VMs that don't use the hosting providers currently supported.