As I sit here in the early hours of December 31st 2018; I’m trying to think of a single day this year that hasn’t had Slowlife in it. For the team at SL, it’s not this little car event that happens each month with some photos put on the internet. Slowlife has become a lifestyle for those involved, and as I look at the past year and all of the memories that this little team of volunteers has created, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This year we’ve hosted ten events. We have never had such a packed event calendar before, and it was certainly full-steam ahead from the very beginning of the year. Alongside events; we featured a record eleven cars, and wrote about our experiences with them for you to read about. These may be (very) rookie numbers in comparison to commercial sites like DriveTribe and Car Throttle, but for a small team of volunteers in the little old city of Adelaide, this has been without a doubt our most successful year to date. Let’s look back at the Slowlife journey in 2018, and remember some of the cool things we’ve done this year.
Our 2018 started with our largest event of the year – SlowCase. On January 13th, Slowlife took over the Adelaide Showground for our annual automotive lifestyle celebration. I will never forget how hard our currently small team worked to make this event happen, and believe it or not, we were actually faced with the venue potentially falling through with less than a week leading up to the event! If it weren’t for the team coming together and some very good negotiation skills; we could have had a very bad start to the year.
The event was absolutely sensational, and we still talk about it today. It’s events like SlowCase that make you really appreciate the hard work, passion and love that goes into Slowlife – we spend money from our own pockets on supplies (batteries, invitations, postage stamps, eftpos facilities just to name a new items that volunteers brought along or purchased out of sheer generosity) and expect nothing in return. When you reflect on the laughs, smiles and overall pride seen within the team in the days following the event; you realise that Slowlife has become a very significant part of our lives, and we’re all there for the same reason – to have fun, and love what we do.
2018 was the year that Slowlife turned four years old. Our birthday actually falls on the 17th of March, and we’re very excited to turn five in 2019. To commemorate our fourth birthday; we decided to go back to basics and host an event just like we did back in 2014 – a no-frills, no bulls**t meet. No sponsors, no activities, no feature cars… Just us, some food, some cars, and a great night. For those who had been a part of SL for a number of years (myself in particular); it was a night of celebration but also a night of nostalgia.
Our first meet that we ever hosted back in 2014 saw not even a hundred cars (albeit it was three hours’ notice), but the vibe we felt there was felt once again at our fourth birthday at the brickworks. The car community doesn’t need live entertainment, kids’ activities, trader stands, food trucks or any of those extras for a simple car park meet – they just want to be with their mates, their cars, and to have a great time with those who share a common passion.
It was following our fourth birthday that we sat down and had a think about what we wanted to do for the rest of the year. Believe it or not; we don’t actually plan that far ahead at Slowlife. We all have full-time jobs or other commitments (and families), and we never know where we’ll be in a few months. It was decided, however, that we would deliver on a commitment we made way back in February 2017. We promised you that we would host a meet every month, and sadly we didn’t deliver on that promise in 2017.
We realised how enjoyable meets were, and we loved seeing all of our friends come out to Brickworks Marketplace for our fourth birthday, so we brought back our ‘no-frills’ meet Slowlife Saturdays. We were very fortunate to work with Brickworks Marketplace and finally have a host venue that would support us on the long-term, and thus we delivered seven monthly events back-to-back.
One thing we did plan in advance was SlowCase 2019. However, we wanted to take it to a new level, and the decision was made to open the doors and take on some fresh faces in the team so that we could increase the quality of our media and events in the long-term. We had countless applications, and we welcomed a select few into the team who have fast become a part of what we call the Slowlife family. It’s incredible to think of all the talent that’s out there.
The talent that we welcomed into our team was simply outstanding – photographers, merchandisers, writers, event specialists and even (agency-signed) models to help out the Slowlife Girls (who do a lot more than just walk around and look pretty at our events). Our team has never been stronger, and I feel privileged to know the amazing personalities that we have on board of whom I can now call my friends.
2018 wasn’t only successful for us, but it was also a challenge in many ways. The greatest challenge we face every day is finding the motivation to continue doing what we love in the face of criticism and trolling on our posts online – no matter what you do, how well you do it, why you do it or how you do it; there will always be somebody to bring you down and criticize you (and even insult your team) for reasons unknown. The world can be a negative place, and there have been times that I’ve honestly been very tempted to throw in the towel out of frustration because of the fact that we put in so much work for little to no gain whatsoever (quite often loss in a few cases)
One such example is when a high presence of police vehicles attended our December SL Saturdays event (something well beyond our control despite a great relationship with SAPOL for a number of years) and seeing comments online claiming that ‘Slowlife meets are dead’, that ‘our brand was forever tarnished’, and even that ‘we called the cops ourselves because we want to destroy the car community’. Seeing this was honestly heart-breaking after so many months of hard work, building a team, and working tirelessly to bring our dreams into a reality at SlowCase 2019. Our biggest challenge, above all, is pushing forward in the face of negativity. The glue that holds Slowlife together has, is, and always will be our crew.
I would like to personally thank each and every member of the Slowlife team for their absolutely sensational efforts throughout 2018. Without you, SL wouldn’t be here today, and I mean this. There were plenty of times when I wanted to bring a stop to all of these events, all of the shoots, all of the stress, the expenses on running costs, the late nights and the persistent criticism; but you were the ones who made me stop and think ‘hey, this isn’t fair, these people are a part of this too’ and push forward. Slowlife isn’t simply a huge part of my life – it means the world to the volunteers who commit time every day to helping bring events together, or even bring a laugh or a smile to everybody’s life.
One thing in particular that’s been incredible to be a part of is watching our volunteers’ try new things, step outside of their comfort zone, take that next step, hone their craft, perfect their process and gain so. much. confidence. To see a fresh photography absolutely nail a shoot, or to see a volunteer with little events experience pull off some sponsorship relationships which will strengthen for years to come, and see a previously shy young girl develop into a confident leader in less than a year has been by far the most satisfying outcome from Slowlife. It really goes to show that it’s become somewhat of a place for young talent to perfect their skills and test their abilities to become the best version of themselves that they can be.
We’re leaving 2018 behind with unforgettable memories and experiences. Memories like finding a stash of OFO helmets and driving around the city and ending up on ShitAdelaide, or the countless times we went to get waffles after every event, and the time that we recreated the image from The Last Supper with our display table at the Adelaide Auto Expo. Oh, and when you all decided to surprise me in Nordburger for my birthday. We’re a very weird bunch of people, but I think you’d all agree with me that we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I would also like to extend a special mention to my loving partner Elli-Jaye for her unwavering support for Slowlife, and all of the help she has offered the team throughout 2018. You’ve helped me up when I’ve been down, and you’ve been so supportive of me on a personal level as Slowlife has introduced new stresses and situations into our lives on a monthly basis.
The Slowlife team has most certainly evolved into a family, and as I write this, I’m already excited to host a New Years’ Eve celebration for the team tonight (of which I’m sure we’re all getting ready for by the time this goes live on the Facebook page). As we welcome in the near year, we’re filled with so many hopes and dreams for the year ahead. There are so many possibilities and opportunities ahead, and we honestly don’t know where we’re going to end up in year five of Slowlife. As always; we’ll ride the wave and see where it takes us. One thing’s for sure – we’re going to make our event dreams into a reality with SlowCase 2019 in less than a week’s time, and then we’re going to take on Melbourne in February – that’s right, f**kin’ Melbourne.
To the friends we’ve made along the way, to the friends who have stuck around from years gone-by, to the personalities who have made us laugh and smile, to the businesses who have stood by us, to each and every member of the SA car community – we thank you for joining us on our journey this year, and we can’t wait to see what the new year brings us.
On behalf of the Slowlife family, we wish you a Happy New Year!