20th Annual David Mann Chopper Fest Dodges Downpours For Epic Sunny Day Event – UPDATED

20th Annual David Mann Chopper Fest Dodges Downpours For Epic Sunny Day Event – UPDATED

Updated – February 13, 2023: Learned today that a fight resulting in the stabbing of three individuals took place at the David Mann Chopper Fest about an hour after I had left the event. The event has a history. The threat of gunfire resulted in the event being locked down a number of years ago. While I noted a dedicated police presence at the event in addition to event private security, it obviously wasn’t adequate. I go to motorcycle events to enjoy the bikes, not put my life in danger. That’s it for me and the Chopper Fest. Won’t see you again next year.

The Original Story: Southern California has been pummeled by record rainfall so far this year. The David Mann Chopper Fest organizers were rolling the dice by choosing February 11th for their event. Well, this shooter rolled a 7 because the event landed on a beautiful, sunny day between two major storms (if you believe the forecasts for next weekend). They could not have picked a better weekend.

The bikes, vendors, artists and attendees were at capacity. The Ventura Country Fairgrounds was packed. And unlike the anything-goes shows like The One Show, The David Mann Chopper Fest is very focused on choppers and the crowd (and parking lot) reflects that focus.

Can the promoters do better? Sure. The DJ’ed music sucked. I could put together a killer soundtrack that would have the chopper crowd stoked between live acts. And the promoters didn’t seem to be prepared for the live acts. When I showed up around 10, a band was still doing sound checks. I never heard them play their set. Maybe it got better but the stage area is small and weirdly located.

Another bummer was one of my favorite attractions of previous years has been the parking lot. The bike corral was as much fun walking through at the Fest. Unfortunately this year, there was no corral so bikes were scattered all over the parking lot. Maybe the promoters felt the parking lot was too much competition for their show. And they might be right.

Does this sound like whining? Maybe, but thousands of fans paying a $20 entry fee to look at cool choppers (who had to pay $40) and shop at vendors (who had to pay who knows what?) seems kinda like a rip-off. How about a “name” performer instead of a cover band? How about the Wall of Death? How about The Seattle Cossacks Motorcycle Drill Team? Thousands of visitors at $20 a head should give the promoter enough budget to provide some decent entertainment. Think a little bigger, David Mann Chopper Fest or fans might start skipping the event.

British invasion: Not every chopper has to be a Harley. While the Brit bikes were in the minority (as were Japanese bikes), they attracted plenty of attention.