UKA is the largest cultural festival in Norway and is arranged biennially by volunteer students from Trondheim. In 2011, the festival was held for the 46th time. 1500 students did volunteer work, while 82,000 event tickets were sold. The name "UKA" translates to "the week", although it now lasts for the better part of a month. 25 days of concerts, theatre, musical, seminars and much more. That’s why UKA is best described as the dream of living the student life forever.
UKA was established in 1917 by students studying at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (NTH, now part of NTNU) in an attempt to improve the financial situation within the students' community in Trondheim. In 1917 the festival mainly consisted of a revue, which was arranged every other year except the mid-war years. Starting with scarce resources UKA has been in constant growth and is today the largest Norwegian cultural festival with more concerts and entertainment than ever before. Although the festival now features big name artists, the organizers still consider revue, UKErevyen, as the "heart" of the festival.
It may seem hard to believe, but Norway’s largest cultural festival is run entirely by volunteers, from top to bottom. Trondheim’s tradition for volunteer work is well known, and a trademark for UKA. In 2009, 1400 volunteers made sure everything ran smoothly. 6500 spectators jumped up and down in Death Valley, 90 000 litres of beer were sold during the festival, activities spanning from juggling courses to crime night to wrestling were held in Death Valley and The Student Society in Trondheim, and commercial partners contributed with events like “UKA robot challenge”, where the contesters competed in building and programming Lego robots. The festival itself is a celebration of intellectual prowess and passionate commitment shown by the students. Consisting mainly of students recruited from Trondheim, the main audience is young people within the proximity of the city. There are events and lectures however, that targets a more mature audience, such as UKErevyen.
Every UKErevyen revue is given a name, which also becomes the name of the entire festival. The name is decided by the writers and is a well-kept secret all the way up to the opening of the festival and the play, and only a handful people outside of the writers' collegium knows it before it's officially revealed. This is a big event where the name is physically uncovered at midnight in front of the student society, with several thousand attendants.
The writers aren't entirely free in choosing the name either. A more or less strict set of rules applies, never written down, but followed from one festival to the next. The most important ones are that the name should consist of three syllables, and that it should have several meanings, either in splitting up the word(s) or rearranging the letters. The rules aren't always followed, as seen with the name of UKA-03; Glasur, that had only two syllables. It did, however, supply different interpretations, first of all with the word itself, meaning glaze, then "Gla' sur" which means "happy sad", and "gla'rus" (a rush of happiness). UKA-05 restored the rule of three syllables with the name Origo.
Former UKA festivals have included: