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Information to the parents

By Ida Hundeide
Published: 15. Nov 2007, 13:51

Participants Ombudsman

Email: do at gathering dot org
Phone: +47 90 20 84 54

Dear parents

Sending your daughter or son to The Gathering might make you feel insecure. It’s a pretty big computer party with lots of people, and it’s no wonder you might have some questions: Is it safe there? Will they be able to get food? How will they get sleep? Are there enough showers and toilets? Am I able to reach my child if there’s a problem? What will happen if..?

The thought alone, that your child is at The Gathering along with 5.500 other people, can be quite overwhelming and scary sometimes. That’s why we’ve made this information, so that you can know a little bit about what’s going on and how everything is done. In addition, you may also contact us if you need more information. We that organize The Gathering can’t give any personal guarantee for anyone during the event, but we will do our very best to make sure your child has a wonderful Easter holiday, and returns to you tired, happy, and in one piece.

We’ve been doing this event for 16 years, and we have around 200 people doing their very best to make the participants happy and make sure everything runs smoothly. A lot of these people started out as participants themselves, and thereby they have a lot of experience dealing with the challenge that is The Gathering.

Where do I find information?

Information to the participants and their parents is important before and during The Gathering. Our most important source to information are the websites that can be found on gathering.org. We recommend that you keep yourself updated there at all times. During the actual event, we broadcast TV continuously, and you just might be able to see your hopeful one on TG-TV online!

Can I get in touch with the organizers?

You can contact us organizers when the need is there. You’ll find a phone number you can use under the link Contact us. Questions to our participants’ representative, can be mailed to: deltagerombud@gathering.org

Does The Gathering have any age limit?

There’s not a fixed age limit at TG, but we recommend participants under the age of 16 to not travel alone. It’s nice to be at The Gathering with a sibling or friend who is older then 16.

The Gathering has been advised by the police to make sure every participant under the age of 16, has a written consent form from their parents/guardians allowing them to attend TG. The form can be found here. This form with the parent/guardians signature must be sent with the participant to The Gathering. Minors who have not brought the consent form will be turned away.

It’s you as parents that know your child best, and you will have to decide if your child should be able to attend. As arrangers, we do not have the capacity to follow up on whether or not your child gets enough sleep, eats regularly or keeps up with hygienic routines. Because of this, we ask you to evaluate if your child is capable of taking responsibility for this, or if he/she would be better of accompanied by a responsible person e.g. older friend or relative.

Can my child sit together with his/her acquaintances?

Yes, friends and family members can arrange to sit next to each other when they choose their seats via the ticketing system. The date of when seating arrangements will start can be found on the web site.

Can you help me get in touch with my child on The Gathering?

We recommend that you provide him/her with a cellular phone, so that you can contact him/her on your own. Phone calls to the organizers is first and foremost for purposes concerning the actual event. We don’t have the capacity to establish contact with participants other then in the event of an emergency. As a precaution, it’s advised that you note down where your child, child’s friends and so, are seated during TG. This will help us very much if we need to locate them.

Is it safe at TG?

Yes it is safe! We have a good collaboration between the local police at Hamar, who will be present inside and outside the Vikingship during the event. The fire brigade is located in the same location that TG is held, and all the installations used at TG is approved by them. TG has its own security crew, whom guard the doors (anyone attempting to enter without a bracelet is turned away) and is constantly working to make sure all security things are under control. A part of this crew is what we call Medic. We have our own medical station within the Vikingship (well marked with The Red Cross symbol), with educated personnel standing by 24/7.

What if anything gets broken, or lost?

People bring gear and gadgets for great amounts of money to TG. TG as the arranger has insurance for this, but it does not cover individual losses or damage to items belonging to the participants. It’s very rarely that we encounter theft of PC’s, and most of the material damages are caused by accidents like spilling coke on the keyboard etc. The last couple of years, we’ve noticed an increase in loose gear that’s easy to pick up by others. As a precaution, it’s wise to not let cellular phones and cameras lie around un-attended to. TG is not responsible for damages caused on the participants gear. Each participant must arrange insurance on their own with their insurance company. Keep in mind that insurance companies vary in what is covered by the insurance.

Do not leave your wallet, cell phone, camera or other loose valuable items un-attended to at anytime. All losses and damages should be reported to the Info:Desk. They will arrange for police contact if necessary, so that all information and such is in order incase you need to discuss with your insurance company.

What’s the food situation like?

There are two food serving places within the facilities. These operate by standard rules and conduction for public food service. These places also get checked out during the event by the health department, to insure everything is up to code. In addition to the places within the premises, a lot of restaurants and food stores are open in Hamar during Easter. There is no worries about getting food at TG, but the reason why we recommend people under the age of 16 to travel with someone older, is that we notice that not everybody is capable of eating enough nutritious food to be able to last the 5 days.


There is not sold any alcohol at TG. We practice a zero tolerance policy on this, and people who consume any form of alcohol or other substances equivalent to it, will be asked to remove themselves from the premises immediately. We sell sodas and other forms of drink within the hall. A lot of the participants bring enormous amounts of Coca Cola and so forth, but we must ask you as parents to advice your child to remember the importance of drinking water. And we mean a lot of it. The body will not be able to function right in such an environment without enough pure water in it. We have a lot of places within the ship where they can fill water bottles.

Is there anywhere to sleep?

We have dedicated sleeping areas under the tribunes and on the tribunes. Everyone must bring their own sleeping gear, i.e. sleeping bag, mattress and pillows. Sleeping on the bare concrete floor for 5 days is not something we encourage. We do not allow people to sleep at their seats, under the table or near their seat. This has to do with fire regulations. We encourage you as parents to talk to your child about sleep. Nobody can go 5 days and nights without sufficient sleep. We have breaks in our program at certain times during the night, so that people can sleep without feeling that they are missing something.

What about showers and toilets?

The Viking Ship is a sporting arena, and thereby has a lot of locker rooms with showers and toilets. These lockers are cleaned several times a day, and restocked with toilet paper and so forth. For the girls locker rooms, there are security cards that they can get in the Info:Desk. Everyone should bring a towel and shampoo etc. We strongly recommend that you as parents have a talk with your child about the importance of washing your hands after visiting the toilet and before eating / touching food in general. With such a large amount of people together for 5 days, it is even more important to wash your hands regularly, more so then at home. A motivational argument is that you in general feel more fresh and awake after a shower / when you are clean, and might be able to get more out of your stay by this.

Special needs?

We’re quite flexible when it comes to finding solutions for those who have special needs. We have many years experience with participants having different types of handicap, and we do whatever we can to accommodate these needs. Contact medic on medic at gathering dot org or the participant representative on deltagerombud at gathering dot org, an we’ll find a solution.

Anything else?

It’s been 16 years since our first event. It’s worked fine in the past, and we’re convinced that it will work fine again. If you have the possibility to stop by Hamar and have a look, do it. It’s hard to understand what The Gathering is, without having seen it, heard it and smelled it. TG is a safe event, and if I were a parent, I wouldn’t be more afraid to send my kids to TG then I would any other place.

If you wanna talk to the participant representative about what you’ve read here, or any other matter concerning TG, don’t hesitate, send a mail to deltagerombud at gathering dot org

Eileén Tennebø
Deltagerombud/Participants representativ

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