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Bimmerfest 2005: Santa Barbara, CA
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  #1  
Old 04-25-2005, 11:05 AM
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Kaz Kaz is offline
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A great 4th Bimmerfest for me, but...

... the question is will it be my last?

First, I want to thank Jon and everyone involved for working to bring the event back to where it all started. In many ways, it felt goot to have it back on the lot.

Coming into this year's event, I knew this was one I wanted to attend. A return to its original location, race cars and personalities, huge raffle, big turnout; it would certainly be hard to pass up. But after having talked to some people during the day Saturday, and seeing some of the reaction here back on the forum the last day, I'm starting to wonder if this event isn't right for me anymore.

The first two years in particular, the event was a great way to put names to faces. People you ham it up with, debate, and have fun with all year on a computer screen all come to life. People you would otherwise never meet because they live in the Bay area, Washington, or even New Jersey. Frankly, I don't rmember much of the cars year to year at all. Maybe the cars would be more significant if I didn't live in an area where you could be at an intersection and be facing 12 sets of kidney grilles.

Obviously the event has grown at an astronomical rate, and far beyond the reaches of just this forum (I'm willing to bet the number of attendees this year that are regulars or even lurkers here is 10% at best). That's obviously exciting for the organizers and others involved, but as with many things, growth can come at a price. In today's car culture, there is a natural gravitation towards the "tuner" scene, and for good reason. It's where most people nowadays enter the "car hobby," as Barry Meguiar aptly calls it, and this is where there is lots of enthusiasm, volumes of people, and volumes of money are. And to that last point, any event that shuts down a business for a day and change and attracts commercial enterprise (read: vendors) has the "M" factor attached to it (and no, I don't mean ///Motorsport). This clearly reflected in the size and scope of this year's event.

There has already been some heated discussion about the cars on display and the trophy winners this year. And I think that's a reflection of the way the event has grown, and the organizers' attempt to make it as inclusive as possible. But as noble as that effort is, there is just too much separation between the various aspects of the hobby that those people in the middle get ever smaller, and it becomes a pissing contest between the two extremes. And that's why many other events are centered in one direction or other. This also ultimately affects the people aspect of the event. Compared to previous events, I found this one to be a bit "cold" in that respect. In the past, I met lots of people from different places with different interests. Now, lots of people come in groups and hang around in their little cliques. Am I suggesting that future Bimmerfests be split up? Not necessarily. But perhaps some thought needs to be put into seeing if it needs to be refocused.

And though earlier I said I was happy to see it back at the BMWSB lot, I think the event has FAR outgrown its capacity. Even with over 2x the lot space available compared to before, there are just far too many people, not to mention cars, for the facility and surrounding area to handle. In this respect, last year's location at the fairgrounds was more suitable. And it offered the benefit of everyone being able to park in one lot. I think the suggestion of selective parking this year put some people off, and made them feel excluded. And scenes such as the (assumed impromptu) lineup of all Dakar M3s we had last year just aren't possible without the large open space.

Talking to people I've met here at previous events, I noticed that the recurring topic was reminiscing about how Bimmerfest "used to be" (including the far better lunch in the past) without much of any (positive) talk about the day's event or the future. Maybe it's just a sign that I only talk to fuddy-duddies. But people reminisce about things that have past... yet the event hasn't gone away. In fact, we were in the middle of it. Seems somehow odd.

So I'm sure there is already talk about next year. And I'm sure that with the overall success of this year's event, there probably aren't many negative comments in those discussions. And I'm not here to take away from that. And I'm sure that next year's turnout will be even bigger. But I'm not sure I'd expect myself to be part of that count next year.
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  #2  
Old 04-25-2005, 11:20 AM
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RKT BMR RKT BMR is offline
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Everything you say, Kaz, resonates with me to one degree or another. As another long-time veteran, I have a wealth of memories by which to benchmark each fest. And, like much in life, there is always a certain nostalgia for the "way it was".

However, where I depart from your musings is in whether or not the fest has outgrown me. I see it a bit differently. It has evolved, and some things have gone away that I really valued, while others have added to the experience that weren't there before. Evolution of something like this is inevitable. It's has changed, and will continue to, but has retained some of the core values and "roots" that made it special back in 01 when I attended for the first time.

So, my experience has evolved too, to deal with much of the changes that occur as it grows, and still have as good (or better) experience each year. Much of the intimacy you speak of in earlier years is gone. So I (and other friends) have replaced it by adding opportunities for comraderie outside the main event on Saturday. This has only made the whole thing better, year after year. What was a one-day event for me in 2001, leaving to drive down and arrive in the evening the night before, has become a full three-day ride with old friends, new, and lots of fun.

2005 was the best fest for me yet, and I'll bet 2006 will be even better. However, I could not say that if I had repeated, logistically, what I did the first time around in 2001. You might consider expanding/evolving what the fest is for you personally, and joining in some of the other extra-fest activities... I'm certain you'd have a much better time as one of us crusty old vets.
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  #3  
Old 04-25-2005, 11:27 AM
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Kaz Kaz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKT BMR

...

2005 was the best fest for me yet, and I'll bet 2006 will be even better. However, I could not say that if I had repeated, logistically, what I did the first time around in 2001. You might consider expanding/evolving what the fest is for you personally, and joining in some of the other extra-fest activities... I'm certain you'd have a much better time as one of us crusty old vets.
Bimmerfest has already done that for me. The photo Dave330i posted a week ago was taken at Bimmerfest 03. And even previous to this, this same group of people, and then some, get together and do things, often having nothing to do with BMWs or cars. So for me, it's grown from an annual activity to a year-round one. So the once-a-year event, for me, should be something special in and of itself.
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  #4  
Old 04-25-2005, 11:47 AM
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shragon shragon is offline
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although sb bmw is a very nice location, i totally agree that the event has outgrown the facility. it just keeps getting larger and larger each year. i really wouldn't mind paying a small fee to see the event held at a larger location and not having problems with parking.
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  #5  
Old 04-25-2005, 12:35 PM
WilliamsKR WilliamsKR is offline
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I would definitely agree. We have not grown Bimmerfest, just the facility. Is there any way we could back to the fairgrounds? This was my second year, but I can tell you this, last year I was treated warmly by all, this year year I was treated rather coldly. The inspiration for doing the "Mods" this past year was from Bimmerfest 04. I anticipated how great is was going to be to showcase the strides I made from myy from bone stock 330i. What did I receive for my hard work? A flipant wave of "keep going" park somewhere else, while on the other side of the lot people with less mods were allowed to enter, even a fake M-5 (M badging does not make your car a "M").
This is definitely not a hey let's beat up on Jon and all the wonderful people that made things happen, but hey common sense should dictate that we've outgrown the site. Bimmerfest has the potiential of becoming Iconic if you just manage it right.

Lastly let me say that if I'm not back in Iraq next year trying to fix you know what, I will gladly volunteer where needed.
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  #6  
Old 04-25-2005, 01:11 PM
Mr Paddle.Shift Mr Paddle.Shift is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKT BMR
Everything you say, Kaz, resonates with me to one degree or another. As another long-time veteran, I have a wealth of memories by which to benchmark each fest. And, like much in life, there is always a certain nostalgia for the "way it was".
----
Wait a minute! You were there???
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  #7  
Old 04-25-2005, 03:04 PM
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I go to 'fest to hook up with my buddies in SoCal (although most of 'em didn't even bother showing the putzes... ).

BMW brought us together and then the friendships took over. I love it and am sad I missed the last two but I'm happy I was able to make this one. It really isn't all that far to drive from the Bay Area....

to another great 'Fest!
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  #8  
Old 04-25-2005, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Paddle.Shift
Wait a minute! You were there???


Kidding aside, this was my biggest disappointment this year. When I heard you win in the raffle, I had exactly the same reaction -- Vince is here??!?!? Damn, didn't get to say hi!

There were so many peeps I didn't get a chance to reconnect with, and that was a real bummer. I believe (unscientifically ) that it had a lot to do with the density of the event on the dealership site. I found a lot more of you Tribesmen last year at EW.

Glad I got to hook up with Kaz and Doughboy, tho!
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  #9  
Old 04-25-2005, 03:28 PM
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Dave 330i Dave 330i is offline
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Stop complaining. Go and help make it a memorable experience every year. The dealer and Jon need your inputs. I enjoyed it even though I left before lunch and missed all the exitements.

It was worthwhile just to tag up with Jon, met up with Emission, Kaz, and Doughboy, and Deniel Meade from Turner mostorsport. And, met up with some of the long time festers.
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Last edited by Dave 330i; 04-25-2005 at 03:36 PM.
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  #10  
Old 04-25-2005, 03:59 PM
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mabe they can rename it fanaticsfest for 2006
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  #11  
Old 04-25-2005, 04:43 PM
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scottn2retro scottn2retro is offline
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I got a chance this year to go up on Friday and I must say I think the NorCal caravan guys are doing it right:

They come down on a highway speed caravan - overflow some In-N-Out on the way for fun.

Car wash party Friday afternoon and get together some place on Friday night. The Elephant bar was pretty casual and the In-N-Out near the hotel was like a car night hang out.

Spend a casual day at the 'fest on Saturday and do State Street on Sat. night. Take off in another orderly caravan on Sunday.

They spend the weekend being around their fellow enthusiasts and enjoying Santa Barbara.

I think I'll be more on that game plan from now on.
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  #12  
Old 04-25-2005, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottn2retro
I think I'll be more on that game plan from now on.
We were all very pleased to have you along, Scott!
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  #13  
Old 04-26-2005, 03:01 PM
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Jon Shafer Jon Shafer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atyclb
mabe they can rename it fanaticsfest for 2006
What do you mean?


Yeah, there were lots and lots of BMW fanatics there. Classic BMW Fantatics,
BMW Racing Fanatics, BMW Fanatics of all shapes and sizes...

Is that what you are talking about?
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  #14  
Old 04-26-2005, 05:32 PM
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MG67 MG67 is offline
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Well I did not attend this year but I will attend next year... Hopefully at Earl Warren, I liked the set up... meeting all the folks that I share thoughts with the whole year online...
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  #15  
Old 05-04-2005, 11:15 PM
slickav slickav is offline
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My mistake was waking up at 4:00 A.M Saturday morning. However, it was also part of the excitment as I woke up, walked outside to take the cover off my car and turned that key to hear that nice coldstart rev, only to anticipate the beatiful site of the BMW Caravan in pure harmony taking over the SoCal freeways up toward Santa Barbara in the morning light.

BUT! I was tired and sleepy by 1:00P.M since I had partied the night before untill 2:00A.M..... so saturday night was nothing but a couple beers in the hotel with some buddies and a movie on HBO to end for an early night.

Bimmerfest was awesome nonetheless

Can't wait for next year!!
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