Car meets. How fun are they!? Cruising out to a location you see on a Facebook event with your mates, hanging out with like-minded enthusiasts, sneaking in a cheeky food run (or two) and having a great night out with some really cool people and your car. Pretty simple, right? Well there’s a lot that you don’t know which goes on behind the scenes when it comes to bringing these events together…
For the Slow Life team at least – organizing a meet was once incredibly simple. We used to simply post up on our Facebook page and announce one of our ‘mini meets’, give minimal notice, and no worries! These meets often had a small turnout and we could use any parking area we ideally wanted for that evening. However, when it comes to organizing one of our monthly meets, there’s quite a bit of organisation involved! Before an event, there’s a lot for us to do, and it all begins from the time we’ve finished up with the previous event a month earlier!
Before we can create a Facebook event and begin promotions, we first need to secure the venue for the meet point. This can take a while, as some venues require public liability insurance details and other particulars to ensure that their premises will be well looked after. This is quite often done by a series of emails and phone calls, and takes a little creativity to think of new and unused locations! We’re very happy with our ‘second home’ at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre though, so we’ll hopefully be staying there throughout the winter months (provided there are no major events on at the centre such as swimming championships which clash with our meet nights – another potential hurdle)! Once the venue is all locked in, we can create the Facebook event and commence promotion. We take great care of our meet points – when you’ve left and gone on the designated cruise route we prepared for you, we stay behind and do a complete walk-around of the meet point to ensure that there’s no rubbish left behind. We carry around rubbish bags and clean up every piece of litter ourselves – yep, even semi-run over, mashed KFC leftovers! Gross! If we keep our meet points in pristine condition, it increases our likelihood to return in the future – so please, make sure you clean up after yourself!
The next stage in bringing an event together is organizing our merchandise. Our stickers quite often sell out at meets, and we always require re-stocking and place these orders at least a couple of weeks prior to the event, so that we have plenty for sale! We pick our stickers up from our supplier to reduce postage costs, as we sell our stickers for very little profit. Our supplier is located around an hour away from Adelaide, so we enjoy a nice drive out there! This month we also ordered lanyards – which had to be shipped from overseas to arrive here. It took an overall three weeks to get them here! We then spend time working on an inventory check, and we even work out which products you love the most so that we can order more of them for next time.
We also try and offer a little more at our meets than just a regular congregation of vehicles in a car park… We like to have feature cars on display which you don’t see every day! In the past we’ve brought you a Liberty Walk GT-R, some Rocket Bunny-kitted vehicles, track cars and more. Organizing these cars to come along early (and to get some out on the road in the first place) can be a bit of coordination as well; particularly if the vehicle requires a trailer or sits a little too low to *safely* get in and out of the parking premises… We’re also a big fan of food and drink at meets; so we arrange for our friend Troy at ASAP Coffee & Catering to come and help out with the drinks, and we try and bring along our BBQ as well to cook up some sausages for you so you don’t go hungry!
For those who have attended a SL meet before, you’ll see a few of us waltzing around in ‘CREW’ shirts… That’s most likely our media team, and these guys work mighty hard! We have a small team of (very talented) photographers who run around trying to capture every aspect of the meet… These guys come with their own equipment, and spend hours editing all of their images following the meet so that we can get them to you as soon as possible! Like any team, it’s hard to get everybody available on the same night; so we quite often have to arrange guest photographers when we’re running short! As for our filming – ever seen us running around with that giant stabilizer? That’s not actually our own! Those stabilizers are worth a lot of money to buy outright, so we hire one of these (and pay a pretty penny for it) every month; just so that we can put a video together for you to share, remember and enjoy! The film editing can sometimes take up to 20 hours’ worth of editing each month! Our graphic designer also works tirelessly every month to design our event posters, cover photos, promotional images and merchandise. The media team work their butts off!
Now for the cruise route… Our cruise route is worked out well in advance of the meet! Why? Because we send our cruise route off to SA Police several days in advance so that their patrols are aware of the hundreds of cars which will be passing through their patrol routes. This causes less confusion for the police (who work tirelessly enough as it is) and results in a much smoother cruise. We don’t like noisy or reckless exits from the meet points, so we encourage Police patrols to observe vehicles as they leave, so that everybody remains on their best behaviour! We currently have a great relationship with SAPOL, and we’re very lucky to do so! Organizing the cruise route is no easy task either, we quite often drive the route ourselves to make ourselves aware of road closures/roadworks, obstacles, potentially troublesome intersections and hazardous routes. It takes a bit of research sometimes, but we like to bring new and unique cruise routes which we haven’t used before!
The icing on the cake is our online social media promotion. We actively use our Instagram and Facebook accounts to promote the meet and all the surprises we have planned! We love watching our attendees grow and people get excited and share the event, it makes it all worth it after all the hard work we put in. We try and respond to every single post, Facebook message and email that we can, and it’s a lot of work for some simple social media!
Well that’s how we bring together one of our meets. We do it every month! It’s a lot of effort, running around, playing email-hockey and intensive teamwork, but it’s all worth it in the end. Each and every member of the Slow Life team does this entirely voluntarily. We don’t get paid, we don’t get anything in return. The reason we do all of this is because of the sense of achievement, pride and satisfaction from seeing so many happy, excited people at out events. It makes us want to bring together something greater every month, and we hope that we can continue to do so! It’s all about the passion, and that’s what Slow Life is all about.