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The History of The Gathering

By Berit Emilie Nordbø
Published: 01. Oct 2007, 23:06

The beginning of The Gathering

The Gathering (TG) is the result of a challenge. As a response to various more or less well justified complaints of other parties, the founders behind TG was asked the always brilliant question: "Well, if you think it's that easy, host a party yourself!" We though about it.. then we did it.

After spending about a year in preparation, expecting 600 people to arrive at the party in 1992, the turnout was around 1100, setting the pace for others to follow. TG continued to grow, and in 1993 there was 1400 people attended. In 1994: 1800. In 1995 The Gathering was held in Stavanger. Because of the larger travel distances the attendance was lower (1500 attended) this year, but allready in 1996, the first year of The Gathering in Vikingskipet 2500 people attended to the party.

TG's expansion

TG's expansion continued and in 1997, 3300 people attended to the second TG in Vikingskipet. It was sold out! We thought we couldnt keep people away from The Gathering by having to few tickets to sell, so we made space for 4300 people in 1998. And the tickets was sold out. Even 1000-1500 people estimated turned away. The same happened in 99, 2000, 2001, and 2002. In 2002, 4000-5000 people estimatetd turned away. In 2003 we expanded The Gathering. It was now space for 5000 people, but once again: Sold Out. This year more than 3500 people in the actual waiting list turned away.

2005-2006 The Gathering, with 5200 people attended has been sold out, but with our new ticket system, there has been some spare tickets left, because of tickets beeing sold back to the system, and there has been no time to sell them out. The Gathering 2007 is also sold out, and 5200 people will have a great easter inside Vikingskipet this year aswell.

  • 1993 - approx 1400 people attended
  • 1994 - approx 1800 people attended
  • 1995 - approx 1500 people attended (this year it was held in Stavanger, making travel distances larger and attendance lower)
  • 1996 - approx 2500 (first year in The Vikingship Olympic Arena at Hamar, famous from the Olympics in 1994)
  • 1997 - approx 3300 SOLD OUT!
  • 1998 - 4300 people. SOLD OUT! 1000-1500 people estimated turned away
  • 1999 - 4300 people. SOLD OUT! 2000-2500 people estimated turned away
  • 2000 - 4300 people. SOLD OUT! 3500-4000 people estimated turned away
  • 2002 - 4300 people. SOLD OUT! 4000-5000 people estimated turned away
  • 2003 - 5000 people. SOLD OUT! More than 3500 people in the actual waiting list turned away, unknown amount of others turned away.
  • 2004 - 5200 people. SOLD OUT! More than 4000 people in the actual waiting list turned away, unknown amount of others turned away.
  • 2005 - 5200 people. SOLD OUT!
  • 2006 - 5200 people. SOLD OUT!
  • 2007 - 5200 people. SOLD OUT!

Being one of the four big parties in the world (Assembly/Finland - fall, The Party/Denmark - Christmas, Dreamhack/Sweden - Halloween being the others), TG is both a national and international event which has grown exponentially with the Internet.

Worlds largest temporary network

One of the landmark records set at The Gathering is a result of providing the worlds largest temporary network (in 1996 around 1500 connections with an average of 700-900 users at any given time), to 2000 with more than 4800 connections and a peak of 2800 users a second, A world record we're quite proud of.

The network handles immensen amount of data, and we expect to break the petabyte barrier this year. The website peaks several millions of hits during the event itself.

The interest for these events can easily be derived from the number of downloads from http://www.scene.org/ which is over 6 million a year or from ftp.hornet.org (part of ftp.cdrom.com), which surpasses 200.000 in any given week. The interest for demos, gaming, IRC and the events around them are immense in the computer-savvy youth cultures. Quote from a trend researcher from Coca-Cola International printed in Dagens Naeringsliv (Norway's largest business newspaper): "There will be seven dominating youth cultures in the future... Number one of these will be the technoid youth culture, an early sign of this is for example The Gathering held in Hamar, Norway every year."

The Network

The Internet connection we can provide to the people at The Gathering is faster and faster for each year. The last years we've provided really fast internet connections, with 1.5 gb in 2006.

This year, the internet connection will be 2 gb.

  • 1999: 35 Mbit internet connection
  • 2000: 35 Mbit internet connection
  • 2003: 1 gbit internet connection
  • 2004: 1 gbit internet connection
  • 2005: 1 gbit internet connection
  • 2006: 1 gbit internet connection. Was upgraded to 1.5 gbit halfway through the party.
  • 2007: 2 gbit internet connection.

Theme Songs

Every year, one or more songs are before, during or after the party unofficially designated as that year's “TG song”, simply by virtue of being played a lot on various people's loudspeakers.

  • 1992: "Das Boot" - U96
  • 1993: "No Limit" - 2 Unlimited
  • 1994: "U Got 2 Let The Music" - Cappella
  • 1995: "Move your ass" - Scooter
  • 1996: "Panzertruck"
  • 1997: unknown
  • 1998: "Brittas Fitta" - Björn Rosenström & "Overdose" - Snack
  • 1999: "9pm (Till I Come) - ATB
  • 2000: "Freestyler" - Bomfunk MCs
  • 2001: "Popcorn"
  • 2002: "Rosa Helikopter" - Peaches
  • 2003: unknown
  • 2004: unknown
  • 2005: "Schnappi, das kleine Krokodil" - Schnappi
  • 2006: "Boten Anna" - Basshunter
  • 2007: No clear contender. See below.

Many songs have been suggested as the "TG2007 song", such as “You are a Pirate” by Lazy Town, "Sorry Arne" by Jim & Stian K, “Det var en gång en liten fågel” by Laser, “Barber din fisse” by Dario von Slutty and “My Boobs Are ok” by Lene Alexandra Øien. None of them did come even close to the amount of "global playing time" that has characterized earlier TG songs, and given the amount of wildly different suggestions, it is quite unlikely that one or two would surface as a clear "winner".


Most years, TG has a tagline; the tagline doesn't really mean much, but it still influences the logo and some other material.

  • 2000: “The Gathering 1900 - Follow the Flow”. Inspired by the Millennium bug
  • 2001: “A Cyberspace Odyssey”. Inspired by the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey"
  • 2002: “The Gathering: Reloaded". Inspired by the movie The Matrix Reloaded, and a reference to the endless reloading to get a ticket on PTN
  • 2004: "Rescue of Fractalus". Inspired by the Lucasfilm Games' game Rescue on Fractalus!
  • 2005: "We Are The Robots". Inspired by the Kraftwerk song "The Robots"
  • 2006: "The Dark Side of Pluto" Inspired by NASA's first probe to Pluto
  • 2007: "Still Puzzled?" Inspired by the famous fifteen puzzle"
  • 2008: "Optimus Prime" Inspired by the numbers 16 and 17.
  • Structure

    The structure of the organisation behind the party has developed from being held by a computer group called The Crusaders, to developing into a non-profit organisation called KANDU (loosely translated Creative, Active, Norwegian Computer Youth). The goals of this organisation is to promote the joy of creativity with the computer universe at your fingertips both at TG, in Norway at other events supporting smaller and local events (with help and infrastructure) and in other countries.

    KANDU has helped parties in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Taiwan, UK and US as well, backed by a drive to doing what no party, organization, event or company can do. We're making solutions to problems that seems almost impossible to the outside world! In February of 1998, TGTW (The Gathering Taiwan) was held with the presence of KANDU members to ensure the same creative, easygoing and informal environment prevails. Computer leaders of the future connects and networks for the first time!

    The demo events

    One of the main events at TG is the demo events. Years ago, young people used the term demo as shorthand for a political march or rally. Now, to thousands of computer-obsessed kids across Europe (and a growing number in the US), it's more likely to mean a short, self contained graphics-and-sound demonstration programming. But it isn't a demonstration of a game or business application, and it hasn't been commissioned for any ulterior commercial purpose. The only thing it demonstrates is the skills of its programmers or, more often, the skills of a group of programmers, graphic artists, and musicians who've grouped together. And the only reason it has been written is to show off and enjoy fame in the culture itself.

    We have prize money for these competitions but glory and international recognition is the key incentive. Being pieces of electronic art of exceptional quality, many of the participants also attract attention from game-, music-, and graphics companies in need of talent.

    The idea behind TG

    The idea behind TG is developing into creating a global event with physical presence in several places on the planet. 5200 people from mainly Norway, but also Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the rest of Europe in smaller numbers and even a few from the US (20 people flew in from US last year to participate) will strain the Norwegian arena's capabilities. To provide a 'localised' event, presumably in Central-Europe, Asia and US will provide the same unique feeling to each and every attendee wherever he or she is, with competitions and infrastructure at both a local level, and at a international level to give an extra, global dimension to the events.

    Virtual presence thru the Internet will give cyberattendance a new meaning, where actually participate virtually, instead of passively consuming boring old noninteractive cybercasts.

    The youth makes and does everything at these parties themselves, as all functions are based on volunteer work, creating things never before seen with their own hands and minds. Creativity is important, whether demos, music, graphics, games or anything is their main interest. The demographic data on the attendee is a male student between 16-20 years (up from 14-18 years in 1992). On special notes TG is the only party to involve the girls, with about 20% girls in 1999. The age span is also increasing to include everyone from 12 through 30 years. More university students and computer professionals keeps the ties to and even returns to the culture they came from. Especially game and internet companies have their people spending time at TG.

  • NTNU
  • Asus
  • Intel
  • Cisco
  • Razer
  • Netshop
  • Netshop
  • ifi
  • OCZ
  • Ementor
  • Sennheiser
  • Creative

Copyright (c) 1996-2008 KANDU and contributors. The Gathering is a registered trademark by KANDU

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