Take the annual David Mann Chopper Fest, add an inch or two of rain, and you’ve got the diluted 2019 David Mann Chopper Fest. I was going to blow it off after waking up to a deluge but the doppler showed the storm would move through Ventura around 10. I hit the gate at 10:30 and the clouds cleared, opening up a crystal-clear blue sky. But the damage was done.
The rainfall turned the normally grassy judging area into a slippery, muddy mess. Some vendors sat twiddling their thumbs, separated from spectators by mud and water. The promoter didn’t appear to have a contingency plan so when I left around 1, there had not been any of the promised live music. And the motorcycle turnout (both inside the gates and in the parking lot) was way down from previous years.
The uncooperative weather dampened the day’s vibe for sure. The damp event was kinda boring. I think what ruined it for me was going to The One Moto Show where anything goes, everything is welcome and creativity rules. The chopper crowd is a very tight culture. Try to pitch anything beyond black clothing, skeletons, riders-flipping-the-bird paintings or silver jewelry (of skeletal parts), and this crowd will pass you by.
The rain didn’t help, but the David Mann Chopper Fest is having carburation issues. It’s running, but just barely. Gone are the days of the Wall of Death and the big guys riding Harleys in pyramid formation. It is starting to feel more like a swap meet and less like a festival. It may be time to broaden the event’s appeal or it will start to feel as dated as David Mann’s artwork.
IN THE PARKING LOT
The parking lot at the Chopper Fest can be as interesting as inside the gates. The rain kept a lot of bikes in their garages. It was slim pickings but there were a few lookers.