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Tuner Fest Florida

Where do we even start? I guess, let's start this incredible journey to Florida from the beginning. Why Florida? Why The Firm? How are we even going to make this happen? Who is coming with me? So many questions, so many risk but this is the thrill that we live for. Come along on this Tuner Fest journey to Florida and I will answer these questions. I will give you a recap of the event as well as any and everything in-between.

Why Florida? To answer this question, we need to go back to our season opener of 2023. This is where we first met the boys at RevMatch Track Days. They registered as a vendor for the event and brought out one of their track ready BMW 3-series. That event went on without a hitch and we had a good crowd that day. This impressed the RevMatch boys and they registered as a vendor for another event. This is how our relationship started and grew. It was at the Rockford Speedway event they invited our honda out for a track day. It happened to be perfect timing because we were ready to give the honda a nice little shakedown. 

We ended up at Blackhawk Farms Raceway for the RevMatch Track Days event. Here I got a feel for how they ran a track day. To be honest this was my first track day in a couple of years and my first time on this particular track. So I joined the novice group which had an instructor. Ill get more into detail about this track day in the next article about our honda's first track day. But they ran a smooth track day and I felt very informed and ready. For now, lets stick to the story. This is when RevMatch approached me with the idea of incorporating and combining my tuner fest show into one of their track days. 

Intrigued by the concept, I agreed to sit down with them and discuss the potential partnership. Over dinner, we hashed out the details and the idea of Florida surfaced. The Firm already had a track day secured in the Sunshine State and saw an opportunity to combine forces for a truly epic event. After some negotiations, a deal was struck, and the next step was to bring in the legal team to draft up a contract. I've learned my lesson from working with shady partners in the past, so now I have everything in writing. 

After a series of phone calls and meetings, the contract was finally signed. Now, it was time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. With only six months to plan and promote Tuner Fest Florida, the pressure was on. Venturing into a new market in a new state was no easy feat, but I was determined to make it happen.

The first order of business was to compile a list of relevant brands. Next, I began reaching out to these brands, companies, and individuals to start building relationships within the Florida community. By combining personal connections with strategic ad campaigns, we were able to generate excitement within the local car scene. Thanks to our relentless efforts, we secured two event sponsors for Tuner Fest Florida, as well as a variety of vendors and food trucks.

One of our sponsors, Lake County Euro's, brought their A-game to the event. Specializing in European vehicles, they showcased ten stunning cars and even took a few out on the track. Their team was not only professional but also a joy to work with throughout the entire show.

Let's dive right into the action. On Tuesday morning, out of the blue, I receive a text from the track manager regarding our layout. Just when I thought everything was sorted, another issue pops up regarding the placement of our vendor row and stage. Keep in mind, I've already made a few revisions by this point. So, when the track manager made this final comment about the layout, I was on the verge of letting him take charge of designing my show. After a brief exchange of words, he left me with a sarcastic remark, saying, "I can already tell this weekend is going to be amazing. SMH." Now, working with someone halfway across the country definitely has its challenges, and I'm well aware of that. But seriously, come on!

The real show began for me and my team on Thursday morning. I started off by picking up the rental and loading it up with everything we needed for a successful show, including merchandise. Finally, I gathered the rest of my team and we all squeezed into a Pacifica. It was around noon when we hit the road, embarking on a long drive to Florida. Despite the journey ahead, the one thing that kept us going, apart from the Florida sun, was the anticipation of stopping at Bucee's. We made a pit stop at Bucee's both on our way there and on our way back. Let me tell you, Bucee's might just be the greatest gas station in all of America.

We arrived at the racetrack at 9am Friday morning. We arrived to cloudy skies and rain, lots of rain. Nonetheless, I was excited to finally meet the track manager face to face. To be honest, for finally meeting face to face; he wasn't a bad guy.  We shook hands and he instructed me on where we can unload what we needed to from the rental. After that, we hung out till we were able to check into our airbnb. As the morning of the show unfolded, everything fell into place. Coincidentally, I bumped into the track manager near the pizza vendor. seizing the opportunity, I turned to him and asked, "Can you finally see what I was aiming for?" To my delight, he replied, "Ah, now I see it clearly."

I messaged the airbnb host if it was possible for an early check in. She responded with a yes and so we headed to the airbnb around noon to relax. We had to be  back at the track by 3pm to instruct WAAT sound where to set up and meet the RevMatch boys. I was under the impression from the track manager that the sound team would have time to set up. I was even told that the sound team can camp there if need be. Miscommunication at its finest hour because that day there was a different tune being sung and now the sound team and everyone has to be out by 5pm. Ok, great! I just sent my team with the rental to walmart and I have 20mins to get them back here before the gates are locked. Luckily, they made it back before 5pm and we all went back to the airbnb to make some pizza. Ultimately we had a quiet night because we had to be up early. 

We had to be at the racetrack bright and early at 7am to welcome the first wave of drivers. I managed to rally everyone and get them out the door by 6:45am. By 7:05am, we were at the racetrack, greeted by the revmatch boys who were busy checking in the drivers. Without wasting any time, my team swiftly took their positions and the day officially kicked off. It took about an hour to complete the check-in and tech inspection process for all the drivers, just in time for the drivers meeting at 8:15am.

Once all the drivers were settled, it was time for our first wave of vendors and sponsors to arrive. The first vendor to set up shop was Lemon Delight, a delightful food vendor. I made sure they were all set up and ready to go. To start my day off right, I treated myself to one of their refreshing berry lemonades, which was absolutely delicious. Despite a few rain showers throughout the day, these guys continued to impress and the line to get in was steady.

Shortly after, one of our sponsors, Lake County Euro's, made their grand entrance. They arrived with an impressive fleet of cars, including a stunning lambo on a trailer. I guided them to their designated area, helped them with the necessary tech inspections, and pointed them towards the helmet rental station. Some of their Volkswagens were going to hit the track, but my personal favorite was the wide-bodied, right-hand drive audi rs6 estate they brought along. It was a sight to behold.

MaxpeedingRods rods were the next to arrive, another presenting sponsor of Tuner Fest Florida. I quickly got them set up near the stage and then went back to directing the rest of the vendors coming in. Tuner4/7 and MiniatureCarWorld were among the other vendors that showed up, and I made sure they were all situated properly. For our first event in Florida, I was pleased with what we accomplished. A total of four food vendors and six other merchandise vendors, I felt gave the people enough options. Again, this was our first time in Florida, so we see Tuner Fest only growing in Florida.

Over the next couple of hours, more vendors and car show participants started to arrive. By 11am, we already had a few hundred spectators on site, the track was buzzing with activity, the music was pumping, and the event was in full swing. The music selection was spot on throughout the day, thanks to the WAAT sound team who did an amazing job despite the challenges of the weather and time constraints. WAAT kept the tunes going until noon when our first booked DJ, CHOPPA, took over and set the stage for the headliner. Axilon closed out the day with an epic dubstep set that had everyone hyped.

The car show itself was a bit smaller than expected, and due to the intermittent rain, some participants left early. I was particularly disappointed with the lack of drifters at the event. It was surprising to me that we had such a low turnout from the Florida drift scene, especially since we were offering a full day of drifting at the FIRM for only $79. It was a bit of a letdown, but as they say, it is what it is.

Having said all that, the individuals I encountered in Florida during the event were truly authentic. They were incredibly kind, genuine, and thrilled to have our event back in Florida. Moreover, many of them were enthusiastic about spreading the word within their local community. Therefore, I extend my gratitude to Florida. I sincerely hope that you get a glimpse of what Tuner Fest truly represents - a family-friendly and enjoyable experience at the racetrack, filled with pulsating bass, delectable food, and unforgettable moments.

As I prepare to leave, I must express my gratitude to Ryan Mowrer from RJM MEDIA. Every image featured in this article is thanks to his skillful work. It's always a great feeling to match a face to the name I've been communicating with for months. Clearly, his talent shines through, and collaborating with him was a delightful experience.


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