By Renee Bogatko, Image Credit - @SUMMERNATS/Facebook
Summernats 31 attracted more than 105,000 visitors and 2,135 cars this year – proving the car festival is as popular as ever!
But a lot has changed over the years, with many concerned the event is becoming too soft.
There’s been a strong focus on “cleaning up” the festival’s culture, through measures like axing Miss Summernats and the strip shows, a stronger police and security presence, more of a family focus, an entry condition requiring entrants to agree to zero tolerance in harassment towards women – to name a few.
While these changes have been well received by many, there’s also a large group who are worried the event’s becoming too controlled.
Anthony Griffiths from Murrumbateman, who’s been attending Summernats for about a decade as a spectator and five years as an entrant, said organisers need to be more supportive of all that want to attend.
“The culture has been getting better over the years, there is a bit of a concern that it will become too soft. Miss Summernats was family friendly, yet it was removed. That was something that a lot of the girls enjoyed,” he said.
“Sure, keep the family friendly focus, but let the boys let their hair down. Some people plan the trip to the nats for a whole year. If it becomes too controlled, sure the families will come, but the guys wanting a boys weekend away will go elsewhere.”
Image Credit - @SUMMERNATS/Facebook
Jess Jopling from Florey used to be an avid Summernats attendee – going every year for about a decade.
“For me, having a 10 year break and coming back this year, I could really see the difference,” she said.
“I was pleasantly surprised to not see or hear any sleazy behaviour. There seemed to be a strong security and police presence too. I was there all day and for most of the evening concert, in previous years I wouldn’t stay after dark.”
Jess reckons while the negative attention the event received in previous years was warranted, from what she saw this year, a lot has changed.
“They’ve done a great job of cleaning it up. I think the promoters have made a lot of effort to let patrons know harassment and crude behaviour isn’t acceptable,” she said.
Image Credit – ACT Policing
Poor crowd behaviour has been a problem before, but according to ACT Police, that’s improved too.
Only one person was arrested for drink driving, another for driving under the influence of drugs, and one for being drunk and disorderly.
“Overall, crowd behaviour was good with few incidents of note,” Station Sergeant Matt Reynolds said.
What do you think? Is Summernats becoming too controlled, or does the culture need more of a clean-up? Have your say at our Facebook page!