The Gathering (TG) is a result that rose from a challenge. After submitting complaints to a few other computer parties, the response received by TG’s founders was: "If you think it’s so easy, why don’t you try to arrange a computer party yourself?"
After spending about a year on preparations, the estimated amount of participants expected to attend the party in 1992 was 600, but in total they ended up with 1100. The Gathering continued to grow, and in 1993 there were 1400 participants. In 1994: 1800.
In 1995, a party called Gathering was held in Stavanger, but it was not organized by the TG-crew. Due to longer travel distances, the amount of people attending was lower (1500), but already in 1996, the first year The Gathering was held in Vikingskipet, attendance rose to 2500 participants!
The development of TG
Lack of capacity was not a good enough reason for us to keep people away, so in 1998 we expanded and seated 4300 people. This year we also sold out all the tickets, and around 1300 persons were left in the cold having to face the fact that they could not attend. The same thing happened in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. In 2002, the estimated amount of people left without a ticket was around 4000-5000.
In 2003, TG once again expanded. This time with room enough for 5000 people. However, we still sold all our tickets and 3500 people were left hanging without a ticket when the event started.
In 2005 and 2006 we had capacity for 5200 people, but due to our new ticketing system, a few tickets were leftover. The option to sell back tickets via the system did not leave us enough time to sell them back out again. The Gathering 2007 also sold out, and 5200 people had a wonderful Easter Holiday in Vikingskipet.
As one of the four major computer parties in the world (Assembly in Finland, and Dream Hack in Sweden) , The Gathering is a national and international event that has grown along with the internet.
The world’s largest temporary network
Among other records, The Gathering has held the record for the world’s largest temporary network. In 1996 there were approximately 1500 connections with an average of 700-900 users. In 2000 there were more than 4800 connections and about 2800 users connected simultaneously.This was a world record we were are very proud of achieving.
The structure of organization behind The Gathering has developed from being arranged by a group called The Crusaders to becoming a non-profit organization called KANDU (Kreativ Aktiv Norsk DataUngdom). The organizations goal is to promote creative use of computers throughout Norway and other countries. KANDU also helps out local arrangers with equipment and anything else they can contribute with.
KANDU has helped parties in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Taiwan, UK and the US, eager to do what no other parties, organizations, events or companies can. We make solutions to problems that are considered almost impossible to solve.
In February of 1998, TGTW (The Gathering Taiwan) was arranged with the presence of KANDU members to ensure the same creative and casual environment as back in Norway. Here, future leaders in the computer-world met, and created a network for the very first time!
One of the major events at The Gathering happens on the demoscene. Years ago, the word demo was often used as a short for describing an act of political protest or rallying. Now a day, 2000 or more eager nerds around Europe (and increasingly more in the US) use this word about a short, self-made program based on sound and graphics which you demonstrate for people. It’s not a demonstration of a game or a business-tool, nor has it been linked to commercial use. The only thing the program demonstrates is the hard work of those who made it. The sole purpose of making the program is to be able to show it to others and enjoy the fame from the actual cultural environment.
We do have money prizes for these competitions, but above all it’s about glory and international recognition. To be able to make electronic art of high quality attracts attention from companies that work with games, music and graphics as these companies are constantly on the look out for new talent.
The idea behind The Gathering
The idea is to develop TG into a global arrangement with presence from even more countries. Most part of the 5200 participants are from Norway, but participants also come from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Finland and the rest of Europe and also a few travel all the way from USA (20 people travelled from USA to partake TG in 2006).
To be able to deliver a “localized” feel to the arrangements, will secure the same feeling to all the participants even if it’s arranged in Middle Europe, Asia or USA.
The average participant at TG is typically male student aged 16-20, but over the years we’ve had people aged anything from 12-30. The main interest the participants have is localized in games, music or graphics. TG is particularly good at including girls, with numbers of 20% being female in 1999. We hope to develop and continue for many years to come.
Pictures taken by crew members, Per Kristiansen and Frode Sandholtbråten