Anthony discusses how much JavaOne costs. I couldn’t agree more. I’m not sure if the Javafolk have heard of it, but YAPC (Yet Another Perl Conference) was created as a lightweight but cheap counterpart to O’Reilly’s Open Source Conference (neé Perl Conference). It’s along the same lines as the No Fluff Just Stuff tour, but only once a year, with less experienced speakers and cheaper.
How cheap? $85 for three days. Costs are held down by not paying speakers except for those doing longer (half-day plus) tutorials, and no conference floors, extravagant dinners, or fancy giveaways. The local community plans everything -- it's generally held at a university and dorm rooms are available as cheap rooms. (Plus it's a nice flashback for those of us who haven't been to college in a while ...) More planning goop from the organizer of the first two.
It's a great opportunity to learn, meet the folks you've only emailed and get experience giving presentations. If something like this were available for Java (YAJC, naturally) I'd sign up in a heartbeat, and I bet a lot of other people would as well.