Report: The Bush Party V

Written by xcene

Adok asked me on #coders the other day (after listening to all the hype I spread about Dance's Bush Party 5 party report) if I'd like to write an article for issue #12 of his diskmag about this small-to-medium-sized annual Norwegian summer scene-get-together.

Forget The Gathering; Bush Party is *the* Norwegian demo scene experience, with all the features the casual party visitor have been screaming for: Near-zero gamerlamer factor, almost non-existant commercial factors, decent organizers (Sorrox & Gollum), all the elite people gathered together, Scene-B-QUE (YES, this is a SUMMER party), boozing, and a right-on scene mood.

Recalling Bush Party 4 as the all-time greatest party I've been to, there was no doubt in my mind about going to BP5 this year too. Going from Dance's home town Stavanger, Norway to Porsgrunn, Norway is something along the lines of an 8-hour train trip. Nevertheless, three jolly and merry sceners known as S-Kill/TPF, oo/Dance and xcene/Dance went along and arrived at Porsgrunn Trainstation 25th of June, 1998 around 10.00 a.m. At the trainstation, we met Bounty/TRSi+Proxima and grabbed a cab. This year the location had changed, and we didn't know the exact location of the party hall. The taxi-driver himself was quite a wicked guy, keeping constantly 80km/h in a 50km/h zone, and forgetting to ask us for payment =)

Getting inside, I realized it was not only the party location which had changed. Loads and loads of MP3-leechin', Quake-playin' IRC addicted preteenagers had invaded the hall. To quote an old Xtacy-demo; "It could be worse - it could be raining". Well, it got worse, it started raining. We met Jisemdu/Dance, who took an earlier train, and Kaiowa/Sorrox. Apparently there was SOME scene spirit around; these people were tracking some really groovy stuff. But we were still missing the majority of the Norwegian sceners. Sure, we had met the Sorrox and Gollum people, and some Sublogic and Nocturnal dudes, but old veteran groups like Proxima, Dr. Dyregod, Calamity, SOTU and so on where nowhere to see. I could only fear the worst....

Realizing that there were no imminent party coming up, S-Kill and I decided this would be a safe time working on our 64kb intro contribution. Due to a misunderstanding between the coder (me) and the zip drive owner (Jisemdu), we hadn't brought the source code with us. It seemed like everything was going to be total disaster. Time for a cigarette; we went outside and chilled out. Outside, we realized things weren't as bad as they seemed; more people arrived, like Yithzaq/TPOLM, the Calamity gang, the BaaS girls and other #daskmig regulars like Pearl Hunter and Guardian/Dr.Dyregod. I phoned 'our man in Stavanger', a non-active Dance member, who grabbed the intro source from my computer and sent it to my email account. Six hours later we had our hands on the source, but at this moment enough people had arrived to throw a *bush* party. Oh well, no more coding for tonight.

For in-depth photo footage of the rest of the night's events (which has slightly faded away from my memories, for some reason ;) check out Dance's BP5 party report (see end of article for URL).

Our mission for day two was to get hold of a computer so we could finish up the 64kb intro. We had only like 20% of the source finished, and deadline was due in 36 hours. Still more people arrived, and things started getting really cool. Samsam^QD lent us his PC for coding sessions whenever we felt like it, and after a couple of beers we also decided to release a vote disk editor (bush party traditions...), and we also ended up contributing to the 4kb intro compo, the Surprise Fast Music compo, and (with a rather poorly written) writeln effort for the Surprise Fast Intro compo. =)

Although a number of well-known Norwegian sceners and Bush Party regulars never appeared (some who never intended to go, others who just really never made it), the number of respectable sceners remained high enough to make it a decent experience. Enjoyable moments like feeding some drunk TG organizers with crackers spring to mind. Some people also got involved in a slight police incident which later resolved, but is not worth mentioning here.

As the 64kb intro deadline was closing in, our in-between-the-partying coding sessions made us realize that today, turbo assembler just didn't feel like obeying our will. All sorts of weird bugs appeared, from standard upper-corner-pixel-bugs to spooky stuff like having to press Enter in the very beginning to start the intro. Of course we totally deny any alcoholic influence on the source code. Power cuts didn't exactly aid us during intro development, either. Starting late day 3 (I think), power shortages appeared regularily almost every half an hour, causing general discontent among all the quake/porn/mp3-wankers. This is the LAST time I will plan to do 80% of the intro coding AT the party place. The result: We only got to put 25% of the effects we wanted into the "final" product, and we had no time removing the bugs because we had to rewrite a lot of the development tools for final linking and compression because I had forgot to bring them along (and you could forget about getting anything at all from the party network).

I wanted to drop the 64kb intro project altogether, but then I got to see the three other contributions. Kravitz/Sublogic's one was quite nice, with lots of 3d and omnilights. Quad's intro wasn't technically as good, but had a powerful soundtrack and a design which could perhaps gain votes from the quake/porn/mp3/multimedia camp. The third other intro isn't even worth mentioning - one ugly font and one green ugly twirlcube. "Lene won't sleep with me" by Dance entered as number four, I couldn't care less, and went partying again =)

At this point of time, I felt most of the party was already over. There had been no barbaque, no sun, and few good releases overall. Although everybody wanted to make it all a helluva time, I couldn't help but feel something was missing. Bush Party V hadn't carried over the real scene spirit from the earlier BPs, and I wasn't the only one who watched the demo compos with a slight feeling of disappointment. One of the highlights at the end of the party was the Surprise Size Code Compo, in which you were to code the smallest possible .com file that would display a mode13h fullscreen norwegian flag. If you want to get hold of the source code for my & Kravitz' 60 byte winning entry, check the end of the article for contact information.

Early Sunday morning, 29th of June 1998. Many people have left the hall. Kaiowa/Sorrox pulled of quite a nice history-of-Bush-Party-nostalgia-show, running BP1-2-3-4 compo entries on the bigscreen earlier tonight. Even the laserdisc film room was missing this year, but Twinny/Sorrox decided to show The 5th element on the bigscreen from 05.00 to 07.00 approximately.

At 08.00, we pack our stuff and head for nearby city Skien to catch our train back to Stavanger. Leaving four hours before the official closing time without having any feeling of missing anything important, I start thinking about recent diskmag articles about how the scene is dying. After the Bush Party V experience, I was left with a spooky feeling about the scene's future. A couple of months earlier, I felt the same thing going on at The Gathering '98. Luckily, Bush Party had not developed into such a gross commercialized game fest as TG, where more than 3000 quakers show off their OFFENDING LACK OF RESPECT for the demo scene by NOT TURNING DOWN THE VOLUME even during the music competitions, but I still had a feeling that the demo scene is wounded and slowly dying. As people move on and disappear from parties and the community in general, personalities disappear and quality releases come along less and less frequently. What is the meaning of art when there is noone left to admire it? - Just some thoughts out of my mind during my eight-hour train journey back to Stavanger.


Bush Party is part of the Norwegian scene tradition, and has previously been associated with some of the best of Norwegian scene. Bush Party of 1998 left something to be desired, but had its memorable events. If there's still life in .no scene during easter (check in at TG), BP6 should still be a serious candidate for a groovy summer happening. If it hadn't been raining, if the quakers could turn down the volume, and if all the people who promised to be there but did not turn up, would, and if only a few more releases from the "old" norwegian dudes had surfaced, BP5 would probably be as successful as last year. Sadly, it did not keep up to its standards. (Which is not necessarily the organizers' fault.)


 Scene Spirit/
 Party Feeling   [xx...] (2/5)
 Releases        [xxx..] (3/5)
 Organization    [xxxx.] (4/5)
 Facilities      [xxx..] (3/5)
 Overall         [xxx..] (3/5)