If you are into gaming, demoscene or just wanting to meet people that you’ve only seen on IRC or at other chat places. Then The Gathering is a fantastic place to be.

Five days with Non-Stop Computing madness

From Wednesday until Sunday in the Easter. A town called Hamar (2 hours north of Oslo, Norway) is invaded by more than 5000 computer people taking their stuff to the Vikingskipet hall.

A nice video, documenting on how The Gathering 2015 went

The Beginning of The Gathering

In early 1991, Vegard Skjefstad and Trond Michelsen, members of the demogroup Deadline, decided that they wanted to organize a big demoparty in Norway. In the late eightes/early nineties, it was common that demoparties (more commonly called “copyparties” at this time) were organized by large demogroups. Because of this, and the fact that Deadline wasn’t particularly well known, Mr. Skjefstad suggested that the group Crusaders should be involved. At this time, The Crusaders was one of Norway’s most popular Amiga groups. Partly because of their music disks, but also because of their diskmag, the Crusaders Eurochart. At first, Crusaders weren’t too keen on the idea of organizing a party, but when Mr. Skjefstad reminded them about the fact that they always complained about the other parties of the same sort, and that this was their chance to show everyone how it should be done, which caused the Crusaders to agree.

After briefly considering having the party during the fall of 1991, it was decided that Easter would be better. All schools are closed during Easter week and the period from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday are official holidays in Norway. This meant that most of the target audience would have time off to attend TG, and all organizers and crew could work full-time with TG with a minimum usage of vacation days.

From 1992 until 1995

In 1992, 1100 people gathered in Skedsmohallen at Lillestrøm, way more than the expected count of about 800. The following years, TG continued to grow. In 1993 Skedsmohallen again was the venue with 1400 people visiting the party. In 1994 the venue was Rykkinnhallen in Bærum, and the visitor count had risen to 1800. A slump occurred the next year and the reasons for this are debatable. The 1995 party was moved to Stavanger, a 470 km, 61⁄2 hour drive from Østlandet where many participants lived, and Crusaders were not organizing the party this year, but by Magnar Harestad with help from some of the Crusaders crew. (consequently it was called simply “Gathering 95”). It was clear that one would soon need a bigger place to be.

1996 until Today

The venue decided upon was Vikingskipet Olympic Arena, built earlier for the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics. Providing lots of space and good infrastructure (abundant power, good parking opportunities, etc.) it was the ultimate party location, and in 1996, the first TG in Vikingskipet attracted 2500 visitors. However, TG has continued growing, and has been sold out every year since 1998 (see The ticket sales controversy below); TG05 and TG06 attracted about 5200 visitors.

In the beginning, The Gathering was a huge Amiga party. Later on, the PC came and with Quake release, the Amiga users were pushed further and further away. The Gathering have turned from be a great computer party to become a large gaming party. It means less released within demoscene and creativity.

The Gathering will always be in the memory of my childhood. I hope it will turn back to become a computer party again. But will it become like Revision in Germany? I doubt it, but I hope that the creativity returns to this party, because that make this party awesome.