The Greatest Show On Earth (Probably)
Another year, another incredible show. Riverside is a show you can’t quite fully explain… but that’s not going to stop me from trying. Their slogan “Come For The Cars, Stay For The People” is 100% accurate. Sure, the cars are incredible – they always are – but it’s the PEOPLE that really make this show so great. You’ll meet lifelong friends at this show. People come from all over – including across the pond – for this show. It’s the show I look forward to the most every year. And that’s the thing, it only happens ONCE every year. On top of that, the actual show is a one day event. Sure, there’s pre meets and after parties, but the meat & potatoes is Saturday.
Let me take you for an in-depth look at what Riverside weekend looks like through my lens (& Sam’s!)
Noon comes around & before the first pre-meet even kicks off, I have this gorgeous JDM BMW to shoot downtown. RHD, all Japanese warning labels and Japanrot paint.
1PM: I go check on the guys & gals down at the pavilion setting up for the show.
Mason Gavin, Mr. Riverside himself & our friends were hard at work…
… well, for the most part, anyway.
The Sedan Meet
2PM: 4-door fans rejoice!!! A meet themed around sedans downtown off the riverfront. Weather was picturesque.
This guy followed me around pretty much all weekend. Spoiler alert, it’s Sinh!
And then Michael rolled up in a 2 door truck. Wild stuff.
3PM: Back to another photoshoot. This time, Daulton’s Mercedes 300D. Bagged, paint matched engine & air tank, 79hp diesel engine… good stuff & great dude.
The Wagon Meet
Honestly, it’s what I didn’t capture here that made the weekend just that much better. It started to rain, so we all went to the Bitter Alibi for food & drinks. Good times with great friends.
The Okeydoke Official Riverside Pre-Meet
6PM: Rain finally moved out of the area and everyone showed up to the Finley Stadium parking lot.
Like… EVERYONE showed up. AND everything!
Cars like this M30 that I had NEVER seen before were all over the place. Such a unique crowd to give a taste of what tomorrow would bring.
One word: SHEEEEEESH
BIG OL WING
Cameron’s Evo just might be the fastest thing in the parking lot. 1k+HP car with drag radials on all 4 corners. This car means business.
Here’s Liam doing his thing! Can’t wait to see what coverage he got!
Speaking of coverage – this guy was taking photos with his VivoBook. No camera needed but the one on the laptop. Wild.
9PM: Back to the photoshoots! Brendon’s Subie was TOO GOOD!!!
Followed up with Ken’s Civic. Blue photographs good in light painting for sure. 11PM came quick and it was time to end the day.
8AM: Admittedly, I slept in, rolled out of bed and hopped in my car. When I got to the show, pretty much all the vendors had their stuff out, ready to go.
We brought some new hats that were INCREDIBLY popular (we still have some left over – if you want one, click here!)
AND new stickers!!!
Mike & Wooley held it down alllllll day. Although, Wooley did admit on our Riverside podcast that they just hung out all day, which sounds great to me. Mike’s an OG for those Cape Cods.
Anyway – back to the cars, right?
One of the coolest things about Riverside is the diversity of cars. Case & point.
9am: Everyone is putting the final polish on their rides before the gates open.
Side note, this is when the lighting is arguably at its best here. Well, that, and sunset. Makes sense, I suppose.
One observation to note, the true JDM imports are becoming less and less of a minority here. It’s a great thing! Love seeing more of these cars stateside get some recognition.
The. Homies. And. The. Vibes.
The quality of cars in the pavilion was at an all time high this year.
Vendor cars were hand picked to be the best of the best.
This car was swarmed by spectators all day long.
Nick’s Alfa, looking good and impractical as ever.
10am: The parking lot filled up FAST.
Parking crew homies were on the radio saying they were parking cars literally anywhere they could!
Everyone was out detailing their cars once they got parked. Man, I should have at least wiped my Stepwgn down. Whoops.
These cars could almost all park in one space!!! Aren’t they just so SMOL?!?!
On the opposite spectrum of JDM cars: This. Pajero Evo, red, manual, one of like 25 ever. Crazy stuff.
Then the gates opened:
Once everyone was parked, the gates fully opened and everyone walked in… or, slid in… or whatever.
Noon: This is what the pavilion looks like when the gates open. PACKED. If you weren’t here, sorry you missed it.
The drag radials, 1320Video plate frame and exhaust dump should indicate this car is NOT stock. It definitely is not.
That’s a weird looking highlighter…
Look at this Suzuki Cara! Chilling under the awning with the doors up. So cool.
I bet a lot of folks didn’t even see these cars due to them being parked on the far side. They do look cool parked by themselves though!
The J’s Racing booth cars = AMAZING. That is all.
After walking the whole show, I sat down and did some interviews with some friends. Had an amazing time, but before I knew it, the lot started to clear.
5PM: Time to go. It hasn’t fully sunk in that the good times will soon come to an end.
Everyone is tearing down their booths before you can even blink.
Some folks, like Alex, are filming end of Riverside content.
6PM: Back to the photoshoots with the best lighting possible.
The BEST lighting possible. Too good.
Combo shoots back to back…
…to back. Wasn’t planned for sure, but here we are.
7PM: As the sun continues to set, I have my last photoshoot of Saturday. A beautiful Integra race car. After this, I went to hang out with the staff, vendors & friends at the afterparty. What. A. Day.
9am: Back at it again with a photoshoot to start the day. Andrew’s S2K was incredible. So many quality parts on this car. Seeing it wrecked last year to now… you wouldn’t believe it was the same car, really.
The S-Chassis Meet
10am: The last post-meet. One last hurrah.
Honestly, it was so much fun. However, my weekend was not quite over yet.
1PM: Bug-A-Palooza was also in town over the weekend, an all VW Show. I promised some friends I’d show up – and I’m glad I did. I got to shoot this 500ish HP Fender Edition Beetle (with a huge wing)
And then I had the pleasure of getting all up in this Westfalia Bus. So cool to see a camper in such decent shape these days – especially this generation.
5pm: Time to sit down and eat some celebratory pizza. Literally. THATS A WRAP
This was the best Riverside ever. I genuinely mean it. The show was just SEVERAL steps up from last year. Worth the price of admission and then some, and then some more. Congratulations to Mason, Karley and everyone that make Riverside the overwhelming success it is. I cannot wait until next year. I hope to see everyone there.
If you like event coverage like this, you’ll probably enjoy this, too.
Photos by Ben Battles & Sam Igel
Text by Ben Battles