In more formal words, Plovdiv99 is the 6th edition of theCentral European Summer School in Generative Grammar. This year, it takes place in the town of Plovdiv (Bulgaria) between the 2nd and 20th August 1998.
In reality, we try to achieve four things at the same time:
Intensive is not hard, most of us spend inordinate amounts of time working anyway. The feel nice mostly means ensuring a relaxed atmophere. To favor this, a simple formula has proven pretty succesful up to now: cancel the barrier between "teachers" and "students" outside of the classroom. Meaning that we all stay in the same hostel (Many nice parties have resulted from this!), reimbursments are pretty similar between the two, etc. The fact that the teachers organise the school themselves also helps a lot.
Most conferences and schools are simply unreachable for an easterner, and we wanted to do something about that. This is becoming less relevant by the day, but is far from over. (Actually, the school originated in discussion between people interested in Slavic linguistics during a big conference in the field, while they were sitting outside of a party which was too expensive for them to attend! In that context, it was natural to think of something that would be cheap enough for students and for them.)
and is not afraid of having (very) junior staff, if they're good. (I suppose it helps that most organisers are themselves pretty junior ;-)
up to now, we've been like the other schools on one point: the staff was just a collection of good people, who taught independently of each other, and did not interact much on content. This year we've initiated a shift towards a school where intellectual action takes place (rather than just being reported upon). In other words, a school which is an active player in the field (much like conferences are). To take a step towards this, we've invited several people who we think form a coherent line-up sharing an interest in similar sub-parts of the field, and encouraged them to present different views, and to debate those views. In the syntactic line-up for instance, there is a number of persons who share an interest for research on the syntactic model itself, seing how it can be simplified, how it already derives things that we didn't think it did, etc.