Is the Future of Car Shows Virtual?
Will Traditional Car Shows Withstand the Pandemic?
While car shows may not be on the top of everyone’s mind right now, it is still interesting for us car enthusiasts to think about, especially as lockdowns continue to get pushed out. For those of us who typically enjoy spending a good Saturday or Sunday out and about around a bunch of strangers and their cars, the future may look very different. Given all the uncertainty around when we will be able to go back out en-masse, is the future of car shows virtual?
The pandemic has sent a ripple across the car enthusiast community by halting essentially all car shows and local meets across the country and world. Given the uncertainty in how these events will unfold, it is still a very likely possibility that large venues won’t be allowed to return to normal until a vaccine is found - which could take more than a year.
This leaves car shows, where thousands of attendees, exhibitors, and staff mingle in halls with no hope of social distancing, in a no man’s land – especially when planning for next year is already underway. GIMS, which is supposed to begin on 4 March, could be cancelled again, while the first IAA in Munich during September may also be in doubt. Across the world many other medium to large gatherings for the rest of the year have been pre-emptively cancelled, leaving little hope of things returning to normal quickly.
The positive I see is that many organizations are turning to the internet to solve their problem. With everyone stuck at home, it’s natural to look to virtual car shows as an alternative.
Radwood already held a virtual car show on Instagram where contestants could use certain hashtags to post their vehicles. The judges were then able to review the hashtag lists and decide on winners. The turnout indicates that there may be a strong demand for this type of event in the future.
While that seems to have worked ok, using Instagram as the platform for a virtual car show leaves a lot to be desired. The drive for most car enthusiasts to enjoy shows is the interaction and social-club nature of the events, which is difficult when all the people and submissions are on disparate profiles. That’s why Topmarq is working to build a platform that’s specifically designed to handle the virtual car shows in a way that preserves the social camaraderie that you might find at your local meet.
I think there’s a good chance solution that virtual shows may be a permanent fixture of the future if there’s a solution that focuses on the experience for both the contestants and the viewers. The great thing about cars, though, is they’re so much better in person where you can see, hear, and enjoy them much more vividly. As such, I have little doubt that, once allowed, car enthusiasts will find their way back to the shows quickly.