With everything going on in the world right now it’s pretty fair to say that car shows aren’t the number one most important topic. That being said, it is still interesting for us car enthusiasts who typically enjoy spending a good Saturday or Sunday out and about around a bunch of strangers and their cars to think about. Given the uncertainty of when we will be able to go back out en-masse, is the future of car shows virtual?
Car shows and local meets across the country and world were completely halted during the height of the pandemic and for the most part have yet to come back. The level of uncertainty around everything right now is quite high and there is still a possibility that large venues aren’t allowed to return to normal until a vaccine is found - which could take more than a year. This leaves motor 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. Such issues could result in another cancellation for GIMS, scheduled to begin on 4 March, while the first IAA in Munich during September may also be in doubt. 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 one glimmer of hope is that many organizations are turning to the internet to solve their problem. With everyone stuck at home, it’s natural to turn to virtual car shows as an alternative. Radwood for instance already held a virtual car show on Instagram where contestants could post their cars to certain hashtags and then the sponsors would vote for the best. 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.
With a platform that focuses on the experience for both the contestants and the viewers, I think there’s a good chance that virtual shows may be a permanent fixture of the future. 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 meets and shows in droves. They may just be using a few more online platforms to explore and enjoy than they did before.