The Gathering

Size: 900 pages

My professional status: independent web designer/developer

Website client: The Gathering

Dates: September 1997 - September 2000

Categories: Project manager, IA & UX, Website designer, Front-end developer, Writing for the web, Content-loader, Webmaster, Old-school table layout, No CMS, E-commerce, Large sites

Brief: to create, design, build and maintain The Gathering website, giving Gatherers as much information as possible about every aspect of The Gathering, as well as archiving previous parties.

true pioneers! the gatherings were some of the best festivals in the world at the time. and still i feel that there was something super special that was happening at the gathering missing from major festivals around the world today. big ups to the golden days of outdoor festivals in new zealand.

oscar allison, in response to The Gathering Documentary 1997/98 on YouTube

My responsibilities included:

  • Determination of what should be included in the site and how it should be laid out
  • Creation of site (design, look & feel, architecture, navigation, content, graphics, video grabs, HTML and JavaScript encoding)
  • Writing/creating all content, with complete freedom to include whatever I liked. My aim was to provide the most comprehensive coverage possible of this party - to take the genre as far as it could go - and to create it in a manner that was easily accessible and good to look at
  • Constant updates - in the months before and after each party (every New Year) I was updating the site every day
  • Collection and inclusion of all press coverage ever received by The Gathering
  • Collection and inclusion of photos taken by Gatherers each year
  • Collection and inclusion of information/photos/graphics etc from every DJ (173 of them in 2000), live act (76), VJ (40) and performer (208) at The Gathering. This was a challenge, but it was a goal worth striving for
  • Responding to many hundreds of emails about The Gathering which I received via the website
  • Prior to The Gathering 98/99 I completed a total overhaul and redesign of this site. I added some funky JavaScript to it, improved the navigation and architecture, and maintained consistency with that year's graphic design
  • For The Gathering 2000 I added a secure online ticket ordering system. The event organisers were then able to sell tickets exclusively through the website and 0800 number.

This website was my baby..... the closest thing I had to my own website at the time, really. I was always tinkering away at it, adding bits and making it better. It's where I tried out all my new stuff, played with JavaScript, did video, whatever. I spent hundreds of hours of my own time on this website over 3 years, I estimate about $100,000-worth, which I gave to The Gathering at no charge.


NZ Peace Foundation Media Peace Awards - 1998

Special Commendation.

WAMMO PostBeta award 4.5 stars - 18 August 1999

The Gathering is an annual pilgrimage to Canaan Downs on top of Takaka Hill near Nelson, which takes place at the twilight of the year. For the ignorant, we're talking northern tip of the South Island, NYE. It's here that the acid house culture which tipped Britain on its head in the 80s has mutated Aotearoa style into a Southern Ibiza with less tack, more kulcha and arguably 100% better electronica. Hardened ravers dance back to back with a generic cross-section of New Zealand under 30s or so... beneath the stars in unified celebration of the dawning new Year, life, the Universe and everything. The event of events; The Gathering has developed a snowball momentum over the last couple of years and has grown tenfold, enjoying far-flung capacity crowds, huge credence and mass media attention (check out the TV documentary). G2000 promises to be the biggest and best and possibly the last. The early bird catches the technicolour worm.

NetGuide Top 40 - September 1999

A must visit site for people planning on seeing in the millennium at New Zealand's most popular dance party in Nelson. Check out weird and wonderful sights from previous Gatherings in the photogallery or take organiser Alison Green up on her offer and send in your digital art for display on the site. There's even a list of Gathering-inspired rumours including the little known fact that there was no trouble getting staff to empty portaloos at the 97/98 party due to stories it was a nudist event.