While Diskmags are considered the demo scene´s central medium, the so called demo parties are the most important events this subculture celebrates. The scene meets to socialize and present current works in large locations drawing thousands of people. Presently, a strong sense of competition has evolved and is characteristic for these events.
The celebration of demo parties has surely emerged from the scene members want to meet and match with each other, to show one´s own achievements and exchange information. Demo parties last several days and include a number of competitions (called "compos" in the scene´s lingo). The contests are arranged by different parameters such as programmers´ platforms or "restrictions" (e.g. file size limitation). The disciplines range from "1KByte-", "4KByte"- etc. compos to "4-track-audio" or "hand-drawn". An important distinction is made between oldschool-compos and the remaining events: Further disciplines (graphic-, sound-, music-, animation-compos etc.) add to the traditional demo contests; a special one consists of programming a game as fast as possible.
Demo parties naturally are a good opportunity to personally meet all those you might just know by name and email adress, seen on the credits of a demo or a mailing list. People who keep in touch via internet or telephone and people forming cross national groups, presenting their work together - demo parties are their physical get-together space. The primarily virtual space becomes palpable, names become faces, people talk, exchange knowledge and get in touch, talented offspring programmers join renowned groups.
By now, demo parties host more than 4000 visitors - they definately are events that demand a lot of organisation and logistics (think of the amount of people plus computers). "The Assembly" for instance is being held in a coliseum normally used for ice sports. Another job is to make sure all computers are provided electricity - in one case, the organizer prohibited the use of mobile stoves or microwaves; otherwise, the power supply system would have surely been overcharged.
Fame is not the main thrust for those who win the compos. Often, sponsors make special hard- and software awards available - quite obviously, the IT-industry aims to approach the demo scene in the search of talented computer freaks. Demo parties are a good place to find programmers that know how to use existent ressources, and to scoop the wide range of the most modern technical devices. Demo programmers are in demand in the game- and animation business as well (a lot of movie productions nowadays rely on digital post production). Thus, the audience of a demo party might not only consist of the scene itself, but also future employers.