High Society Kustom Garage

Enthusiast events

Summernats 36. Prior to the much publicised events of Saturday afternoon, stories on most main-stream-media mostly focused on mullets and bad fashion.  The picture MSM likes to paint of car enthusiasts is that we’re all mindless bogans, antisocial at best. But come Saturday afternoon, they had a different story to tell.  That story lent some credence to the MSN line.  Viral online videos of fights between punters and security within the show.  It displays the internal threat to enthusiast events we all love.

Management Missteps and Security’s Role in the Unraveling

Some of the blame for the bad publicity falls squarely on Summernats management and the security company they contracted.  Some of the crowd control staff seemed to be determined to get their hands dirty.  One staff member in particular seems to star in a lot of the footage doing the rounds, involving himself in several incidents. 

This doesn’t excuse the horrible behaviour of a portion of the revellers. Year in, year out, some seem determined to ruin yet another car event.  We’ve all seen footage of entrants’ behaviour that’s been less than desirable.  Mostly doing burnouts where and when they shouldn’t be. Yes, we know you want to have fun. Sometimes it seems the rules are a little stiff, but like it or not, insurance plays a massive part in any event. Lloyd’s of London aren’t known for their wild antics.

But the biggest ongoing threat to the Summernats are the spectators.  Drunken fun was definitely part of the original formula that made the Nats what it is.  Today that’s not as easy to keep behind closed doors. Where there’s a crowd of 130000 people, you’re probably going to have 125000 phones ready to film every indiscretion.  We’re already disliked by the general public and MSN enough, but we continue to give them the ammunition to shut us down.

A Balancing Act: Fun, Rules, and Responsible Behavior

Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez points out that to put it into perspective, the bad behaviour at that event was 45 minutes out of 4 days. But is he ignoring the facts?  Apparently pretty lax adherence to responsible service of alcohol rules.  A huge crowd “revved up” by the activities surrounding them.  Hot weather and little to no shade.  All this is just a recipe for exactly this type of  behaviour. I’ve heard from many attendees over the years that they would never take a car there.  At least on the cruise route. Too much risk of damage by drunken louts hungry to see a burnout at every turn.

A Call for Change: Reflecting on Summernats 36

Three weeks since Summernats 36, and the dust has barely settled.  The true outcome of the events of this year will probably take months to surface.  But it’s pretty evident that SOMETHING has to change.   I doubt they’re going to hear the cry of many to ditch the drink.  That being said, there have been rumours.  Call me a cynic, but a lot of money is made by having alcohol served at this event.  So what will be changed instead?

Broader Impacts: The Threat to Enthusiast Events

It’s not just events like the Nats that are being threatened though. We’ve all seen local hang outs and meet ups discontinued, often due to the “dick head element”. Having 80 or 100 cars turn up to a coffee or pizza shop seems great at first.  But if management starts receiving complaints from neighbouring businesses that they are losing trade?  Pressure from business owners and police, coupled with insurance liability questions?  Allowing our meets to go ahead on their premises probably doesn’t seem worth it after a while. A procession of spirited driving while leaving a venue can be enough for the venue owners to decide they don’t want us back.

It’s up to us as enthusiasts to call out the stupid antics. Rather than grabbing a video of stupid behaviour to upload to social media, instead give the same video to organisers. That way they can work with their security or the police to make sure these same dick heads aren’t let into the next enthusiast event. We need to take some of the responsibility if we’d like to continue to enjoy our hobby and actually drive our toys.  Especially with like minded folk. What do you think, how do we keep the events we love? Leave your comments on our Facebook or Instagram pages.

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