Introducing Districts 01
by Adam McPeake
"When are you guys going to do your own show?"
The one question that comes up time and time again ( well that and why are you called ilovebass? ). Every where we go, we seem to be asked why we don't put on our own event? And we normally answer it quite simply - Dubshed is our home in Northern Ireland, and the lads at FittedUK have kindly became our home in England. We didn't see a need to have yet another show on the calendar doing the same thing.
ILB has been in existence for 7 years, throughout that time not only has the website grown but so have we - we started off as a couple of kids on forums taking photos of cars we liked & even then the forum guys didn't quite get it, but we stuck with it. We started ILB simply out of passion for photography, for videography and most importantly for the cars. This is the fundamental reason we are still here 7 years later, still typing, clicking and shooting away.
"Why don't you post more non VAGs?"
That's another question we get asked a lot - since 2010 we have focused a lot of our effort around the VAG scene, why? Simply because in Northern Ireland that scene was a lot larger - a lot more high quality builds where coming out of it and a lot of our friends had cars in it. But that's really changed.
In 2016, our good friends at GTINI invited us to host our own hall at Dubshed; our "Non-VAG" area was a cry to answer that question, to show that ILB was for all cars, to show we appreciate all things automotive. And the hall went down extremely well, in fact it was a major talking point in a lot of the articles that floated about after, and it really showed us that Northern Ireland was truly missing a large, all makes and models modern show. Something it hasn't really had for a long time.
So - the original answer we gave to that first question seemed wrong, and after a good few meetings with our friends at GTINI, they helped persuade us that doing a show together was the answer.
We wanted to bring all the aspects of the automotive community together. From the vintage and classic car scene to the beefed up off road vehicles. I mean it's not very often the guy with the slammed purple S2000 gets to chat to the guy that's just finished stripping his Goldwing into a cafe racer. And why shouldn't it be like that? The automotive scene shouldn't be about praising the work of one class of vehicle, it shouldn't be about cliques and groups. We feel everyone can appreciate the hard work put into a build, no matter the vehicle.
So we knew we wanted to bring together all aspects of the automotive scene - but what else where we missing? A venue. The Eikon works great for Dubshed - but it was clear from the start we couldn't go into the same venue as someone else. This needed to be a clean slate, and when our good friends at Square Pit X T13 held a top secret meeting with us about their new venture South13 - we knew we had it sorted.
They where about to under take the conversion of an old B&Q into a highly functional, massive indoor event space in the heart of Belfast. And they invited us to put on the first ever event inside.
So we had the venue, we had the vehicles - we now just needed to put it all together. And over the space of 6 months, we did just that. And just like everything we do at ILB, we wanted to make sure every small detail that is over looked at other shows wasn't over looked at ours. We picked inspiration from all aspects of our travels and work to put on this event. Our stage looked more like something from a festival, than a car show - put together by our good friends at Production Services Ireland.
Our welcome to Districts sign was hand made by James, Gazza and I in the week leading up to the event.
We invited Norlin Racing, a new team on the British Touring Car Champisonhip scene - who recently won the best looking car award, and who's team and driver Chris Smiley are both from Northern Ireland. This brought something not normally seen at a Northern Irish car scene to the general public. Even if they did start their car throughout one of Gary's talks on stage... ha!
We had support from our friends at Auto Finesse, Airlift, Autopia & Europl8 all traveling from England. And local companies Black Water Graphics, Blok51, Kleen Freaks to name a few.
We had live talks on stage from Gary Greenberg at Titanic City Cycles throughout the Sunday, where he chatted directly with some bike owners about what they had created. Bringing an entire new element to a "car" show.
We had breakdancing throughout the Sunday, live music from our DJ Gregg Reid and meet and greats at Norlin Racing.
And for the awards, we wanted to do something special. On Saturday our Judges picked ten cars that represented the different Districts the best - and we opened up a public vote which allowed anyone in attendance to vote for their People's Choice Award. It also allowed us to run a randomised raffle to give away a set of Rotiform's to one luckly member of the crowd.
As for the actual prizes, everyone received a custom Districts number plate - with the top of each District winning a bespoke prize, suited to that District. Stance received a Districts skateboard, Classics some laser engraved leather driving gloves, Motor Bikes an amazing helmet from TTCC, Motorsports a Districts chequered flag, Off-Road a Jerry Can and Exotic a blacked out pressed plate. We also gave away a "Spirit of the show" award, which highlighted someone who went out and beyond to make the event - someone who represented what the event was all about.
That went to Geddis Redman - who's Defender broke down on the way to Districts. Then after a tow by a friend and a replaced injector pump - he drove it straight to the event spilling diesel all over the place just to make it to the show.
A massive thank you to everyone who helped, who sponsored, who traded and of course - to everyone who came and supported our first ever event. Will there be a Districts 02? Who knows - but at least now we can say we did it.
Words by Adam McPeake
Photos by Alex Carroll, Lewis McClay
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland