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Diary of The Gathering 2010
by Menace of Spaceballs, Boozoholics and Keyboarders

Download the pdf here

Day 1 - Tuesday 30th of March 2010

When I'm writing this it's actually already Wednesday, and has been for a couple of hours. Today has been mostly a blur. It's now 2.30 am, and I'm slightly drunk with the tired syndrome. So I thought this was the perfect time to write a few words about how we're doing.

Which is actually quite good. We've constructed the entire Creative Lounge to perfection, made sure most stuff now works on a technical level, and have laid plans for the rest of the week. Quarryman, who is officially in charge of the Lounge - the demoscene section of the party, where all the sceners are seated and the seminars and stuff takes place - has done an excellent job as usual.

Overview of the Creative Lounge and seating area for the creative attendants. Picture by Dozer.

Speaking of seminars, I got to meet Ferris/Youth Uprising earlier today, who had flown in from Idaho, USA to give a talk on music in 4k intros. Will be really interesting to hear what he has to say. Very likeable guy.

It seems that now, just six hours before the first visitors are let inside the ship, we're in pretty good shape. Let's hope it continues this way.

Day 2 - Wednesday 31st of March (reported from day 3)

So, whoa. As you can no doubt deduct from me writing this recap on the day after the fact, yesterday was busy. We completed organizing our first seminar, which was a roaring success. We had more people in attendance than we could realistically fit in the lounge, so lots of people were left to stand around, watching. Lots of people also approached the creative helpdesk to get information or help, so overall it was a really good day for outreach.

"Ferris/Youth Uprising flew in from Idaho, USA to give a talk on music in 4k intros."

As the evening wore on, the opening show started, immediately followed by a demoshow hosted by Concrete/Contraz and yours truly. The theme was "The Best of The Gathering", and basically it was me and Concrete inviting guests on stage talking about some of their favourite productions from the history of The Gathering, and then showing them on the bigscreen. Highlights include The Gathering main organizer (and oldschool amiga scener) Vegard Skjefstad giving passionate recounts of seeing Desert Dream and Tint for the first time, and the goosebumps they induced. Duckers/Outracks gave an equally passionate speech about the cult classic that is ODD's World Domination, Datsua and Kaktusen came onstage to talk about how Mupé came to be, and Ferris came on stage to talk about his love for Outracks' Gamma.

Menace, Duckers and Concrete on stage

Following that we were working on content for gathering.org, and supplying Lug00ber with ideas for his uber-cheesy trance remix challenge track. When it came time for him to record his vocals, me and Dozer were ousted from the room, so we hung around in the lounge for a while, and Concrete went to bed. We spent about two hours in the lounge, talking with Quarryman, Ferris and newly minted Outracks members Neuratix and MortzERR. Ferris, you've been Plutoed. ;)

What the stage looked like from a distance

Me and Dozer finally went to the hotel to get some much deserved sleep right around 7 in the morning... and just 3.5 hours later we awoke, showered and went back for more of the same.

Day 3 - Thursday 1st of April (written on day 4)

So, there's this word I've used a lot more these last two days than I usually do. It's "busy". Today was spent mostly running around, writing articles for gathering.org, presenting the first compos from the stage, and finally turning in "early". It's all a blur to me right now, really. I think it suffices to say that we presented the MS Paint competition, which sported some amazing entries, and the Photo competition today. The latter featured my first ever contribution to a competition at The Gathering, meaning I actually qualified for a Newbie Award - a special incentive we give out to first-time competitors. As of writing I'm not really sure how my contribution - a pillow at a local supermarket, marked "Demo-pute", taken with my iPhone - did, but I'm sure it didn't enter at the top of the heap. We subsquently attempted to present the Fast Remix competition, but due to a few technical mishaps we were forced to shut the presentation down after four entries, and decided to run it again the day after. Unfortunate, but these things happen. I have now grown from a slight dislike of OpenOffice to a more pure, intense hatred.

The Gathering in all its glory. Photo by Geir Arne Brurok

The other highpoint of this evening was Duckers and Ferris doing a demoshow that focused on intros, entitled Legendary Intros.

Me and Dozer went back to the hotel relatively early (02.00), to grab more than four hours of sleep.

Day 4 - Friday 2nd of April (actually written on the day!)

Today has been mostly calm so far, though naturally not entirely without workload. Me and Concrete have been preparing our stage duties for the evening, as well as writing articles for gathering.org and generally preparing. Today has brought a lot of seminars in the Creative Lounge, so major kudos to the lounge people for making all that happen relatively smoothly. As I'm writing this, I am sitting in the "demo dungeon" preparing to go on stage in a little over one hour presenting the Rendered Graphics, Freestyle Graphics, Freestyle Music and Fast Intro competitions. Later this evening, we're going back on stage to present our third and final demoshow, entitled State of the Art. We are presenting some outstanding productions from recent times, and as of right now the playlist is Jesus Christ Motorcross, Frameranger, Luminagia, Elevated, Rudebox and FR-062: The Cube. For those of us who weren't present at the parties where these outstanding prods were released, it's really cool to be able to watch them on a big screen like this with a kickass sound system. It's just sad that I won't be able to be on the floor, but those are the breaks.

What is this? YOUNG people, potential new sceners? No, it surely can't be. Isn't the scene dead and stuff? Photo by Dozer

(intermission music plays while our heroes are on stage)

I felt the show went really well, and was definitely our best so far. I sure hope we get to do it again next year.

"If we thought the first few days had been stressful, this was going to be something else."

Directly following this, me and Dozer were SUPPOSED to hide away to do a run-through of the scene.org event that we were broadcasting simultaneously with Germany the following day. Unfortunately, those plans fell through. Slightly stressed, a little tired. Just two days to go.

Day 5 - Saturday 3rd of April (written on the 7th of April)

So, yeah. We're a little behind. Again. So let me give a little run-through of how things went on our final full day of demoscene activity. As has grown to be the norm for this small journal, it's not actually written as time progresses, but more after the fact. If we thought the first few days had been stressful, this was going to be something else. We were presenting the scene.org awards in the auditorium, with Duckers coming in live, and hopefully running the wraparound content live on our end - flipping to the stream for the video of people presenting and accepting. A long line of miscommunications and circumstances made this experience extremely stressful, and just... yeah. Me and Dozer did our best, and ended up just running the stream, since we simply ran out of time to do justice to a switching system. It was suboptimal, but we think it went fairly well. We had a good turnout in the auditorium, which was cool. Lots of cheering and clapping for many prods, but most of all for Rupture it seemed.

Duckers was forced to bolt from the proceedings immediately following his presentation of the Best Demo award to be on the main stage to present Game Dev awards, and Dozer reported back for the upcoming compos immediately after. I was left to "clean up", and got back a little later, just in time to prepare to be on stage to present the intro and demo compoetitions with Concrete. By now you all know that PlayPsyCo crushed the competition, and delivered the awesome Phon. And seeing it, it was one of those moments when it all came togehter, you know? Having someone present THAT at your party just makes it all worth it.

The crowd anxiously awaiting the demo competition. Photo by Sesse.

A few of us were actually able to catch a fair bit of the Breakpoint 4k compo in the lounge before duty called again, as the winners of all the remaining competitions were to be presented from the stage. It was now like 4 in the morning, and everyone was just really focused on bringing it all home. Afterwards, I was just dead inside. When I finally found bed, I was just... over.

...and getting to see Phon. :) Photo by Sesse.


So was it worth it all? Absolutely. Standing on stage in a hall with 5200 people, talking about demos and presenting them on a kickass large screen with a PA to die for? Just felt great. Walking off stage, and being told 5 minutes later that a massive amount of people followed the stream at the same time, made it even more so. And seeing people who went to our seminars last year, taking notes and asking questions - delivering demos this year? Felt even better.

"So was it worth it all? Absolutely."

I hear people complaining that The Gathering is less of a scene oriented party, that you can't drink on the premises, and that there are gamers there. I'd like you to consider this; TG was started by demosceners, for demosceners. On our first day demoshow, our first guest was the main organizer, talking about demos. Amiga demos, at that. And how seeing Desert Dream and Tint released at his party gave him goosebumps, and they're the reason he's still doing this thing.

The attendees - all 5200 of them - are normal, technology interested kids. We just exposed 5200 kids to the demoscene. We just did close to 5 hours of demoscene related programming from the main stage to all those people, and thousands more watching the stream. We had a dedicated demoscene area where close to 100 people sat exclusively, and drew lots of attention from the rest of the crowd for our seminars and shows. We had mindblowing graphics and music competitions with lots of talent that had never participated in a compo before. THAT'S outreach.

And for the people who seem to consider drinking the most important aspect of any demoscene party; Really? That's what it's all about? Not about demos? Not about the exchanging of ideas and bringing your prods to compete against each other? Because, see, that's what I thought it was about.

I can't wait for next year.
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