(There are already articles regarding this topic, but they have been written by those who had strong contact with the Nordic community, and therefore their perspective is different)
I traveled by my own to my first Knudepunkt (Denmark 2015), with just few acquaintances (many later friends) between the assistants. There I developed some points by trial and error to make the experience as satisfactory as possible (all points being absolutely subjective)
Survival tips for your first Knudepunkt:
Do not attend alone:
Convince your group of friends to assist with you. And I am not talking about one or two friends, but a bunch of them. This will grant you a place to return to each time you need to rest from the Knudepunkt craziness and its speed-dating (see below)
Do not mind the cool kids:
At the Knudepunkt you will find many larp legends, ignore them. For them this is a place to run into old friends more than an opportunity to meet new people. If you seek for them they will be nice and spend a minute of their time with you, then they will disappear in the sea of attendees. So, unless you have something really stunning to show them (like a castle, advanced tech, the larp situation in Palestine, etc) do not even bother. If you attend the Knudepunkt to get to know them, you have chosen the wrong place.
Accept the speed-dating:
The Knudepunkt is not only huge, but also the people move non-stop. Meeting someone is really easy, but the conversations have an average duration of 5 minutes. If you see that your interlocutor has no interest in what your are saying do not insist, just leave and find the next “date”
Imagine the Knudepunkt as a huge Larp-contact-speeddating where you can meet larpers from around the world. Accept it as fast as possible and enjoy.
Use/follow the empty chair rule:
The empty chair is an amazing idea. There must be always an empty chair for anyone to take part in the conversation. Do not be ashamed, if the subject seems interesting to you, just sit down.
Make sure there is an empty chair in any conversation you take part . It is kind of funny, at the end of the convention you will turn into an empty chair maniac, always checking if it is being fulfilled.
Distrust the Knutecrash:
In our first larps we unexpectedly connected with people that shared our same interests and felt strange transitory infatuations.
At the Knudepunkt something similar happens, so often that it even has its own neologism (I cannot find it anyway now, but I swear I heard it many times). Distrust, it is temporary and deceitful.
Prepare for the Nordic culture:
The Knudepunkt is a clash of cultures being the largest Nordic. Get ready for an amazing boom of freedoms. Saunas, where the use of the towel is optional, that suddenly become mixed is just an example.
My advice, accept it. Their perspective on shame (or rather the lack thereof), is revealing. It is refreshing how taboo becomes natural
Another important topic is feminism and LGBT. This is a delicate matter and it is easy to hurt others unintended. Therefore, unless you are well versed in these topics and really interested, I recommend avoiding them.
“A week in...”
Yes, definitely yes. If you have time and money, do not hesitate. It of course has pros and cons.
- You will meet larpers not accessible during the Knudepunkt.
- It will allow you to see the country/city for a reduced price from the perspective of the locals.
- The activities are really interesting.
- After so much time away from home, you will get tired and be less sociable at the Knudepunkt
- The Nordic countries are not cheap. Your economy will suffer.
- During the Knudepunkt you will not encounter many of the ones you got to know or they will have no time for you.
Attend a larp:
Attend the first chamber larp you can. You will meet and form a bond with those that will be your friends during the rest of the convention.
Do not be found waiting to collaborate:
I went with the idea of a presentation in mind, but due to shame and respect I did not propose it. The presentations were made in small rooms and the people had a lot of interest for them. So I came back with the uneasy feeling of not doing it. If you have a proposal talk with the organizers and participate.
Bring alcohol and sweets/food from your homeland:
For several reasons:
-Alcohol is expensive.
-Sharing is nice.
-Nothing helps to make friends as a bottle of booze.
Sauna and more sauna:
For many Nordic countries the sauna is meant to relax and chat. There is no better place to meet people and maintain a conversation with them for more than 5 minutes (some may complain, like: “what is the Spaniard doing in the sauna??” But who cares)
Do not share plate, glass or cutlery (Knudeplage):
The Knudeplage is real. We are talking about participants from over 30 different countries lovingly carrying many exotic illness. As a person who never gets sick and having had relatively care, I had throat pain for two weeks. If you are sickly be careful (there are those that have been sick for months)
These are my conclusions after my first Knudepunkt.
Let's see how it goes at my first Solmukohta :)