Well what the hell do you say about a failed attempted at a free event for the masses? It’s a learning exercise in what not to do and how to do it much better. For days I’ve sat by wanting to say so much about what happening and the utter disrespect of what all happened. I’ve had IM’s and text messages. My staff has called me and it’s been a frustrating nightmare. Sometimes I feel guilty for taking money for my passion, I get ticket sales and I’m able to run a company that put on car events across the nation and event other countries. If you saw the emails I get and PM’s I answer sometimes you just want to give back with a free event. After last year’s “shut out” at golden gardens in Seattle. I wanted to find a location that could handle 2-3,000 cars.

Matt and I joked years back about combining events to make a massive one. I was happy to have a StanceWars booth to XXX RootBeer event, sell some stuff and have a fun day. I boosted that event to the breaking point. I invited thousands and made it as large as I could to help out booth sales and get great coverage. While Golden Gardens was getting to be impossible to handle because it was so small and so many wanted to come. Over the winter I talked to Matt and told him I was going forward with Wild Waves option and he told me of the new issues with the city. We both were moving forward on our own events until it was just an easier for us to work together.

So why Wild Waves? Well it’s a smart location for north and south and it has over 3,000 parking spots. Matt and I figured we could get about 2,000 cars at the most for an event. While XXX is huge, an aerial photo only shows about 1,000 cars in surrounding lots and even less for Golden Gardens. We should have tons of space and without promoting more than our own Facebook sites and IG accounts we figured it should be fine.

Nothing went as planned. At 9:30am a group of trucks and a caravan of cars arrived a few hours early. From then on it was going to get out of control fast. We raced to open the gates before we planned to get noisy cars from the neighborhoods that surround the park. We were always ready getting calls from the neighborhoods. By noon we were outgunned. I took a drive to the intersection of Milton Rd and Enchanted parkway. All I saw was stopped cars for as far as I could see. Not the plan we had in mind. After discussions we had no choice but the close the gates for public and only allow pre-paid VIP in the lots. From here things just get out of control and a small faction want to get wild.

Now I’m getting old, I never wanted to be that guy that owned the shows that was old and seems to not have pulse younger attendees. I remember those guys when I showed my cars and went to events. In reality it’s someone like me that can make this happen. Older person, high credit score, legitimate business owner with references from other venues and money. I know where to get 1-5-10 Million in insurance for an event. I know the questions to ask, and the things to say that give comfort to a venue. Anyone can walk into Safeway and bullshit the manger into a free meet and it will get shut down and it will never happen again at that location.

With today’s society and social media we have a few new issues to face over events from ten years ago. Some good and many bad. I was just on IM with one of the guys from Springfest that had some 2 step fun. The two step thing nowadays has real consequences with police and surrounding neighborhoods. When you hear ” shots fired at wild waves” things get tense with police and owners of property. I’ve been told the neighborhood kept calling police for every 2 step and said there was automatic gun fire at wild waves. This is an issue. I know its fun, I know it’s awesome to hear and in the right setting is perfect, just not this setting. Unfortunately in today’s “gun violence fueled media “this isn’t helping any event. I’m all for a great burn outs, even running the tires pop, but next to 2-300 hundred folks on my insurance, that’s a no go. One wrong move sends a car into the crowd and my 1Million insurance is toast. Then they will come for my house, cars and everything I own. Today more folks want a “sideshow” but the side shows are hurting more folks like me. I was kid, I did stupid stuff, and I’ve done the meanest of burnouts and drifts in my day. So I understand the fun of it. While I might be mad for a minute, later I understand.

I’ve had many contact me and apologize for actions and stuff that was said, and I appreciate that. I’ve had a ton of other support as well. It’s hard to dedicate your passion to automotive life to be shit on by the same person you are serving. I joking told matt $495K and you can have it all. In reality I love what I do and the people I get to meet.

My takeaways
1. plan bigger than I can think
2. everyone wants to have fun and be seen
3. everyone including myself makes mistakes, that goes out to two specific people
4. someone is always willing to ruin it for everyone
5. zero free events

If the venue will have us we’ll make it happen, but this result will be far different with police presence.

Various photos from ME Captures, Holden Bucher

 

Cover img – David Ishkanov