Summernats car festival
Summernats car festival in Australia is extreme twice over: it’s a man’s world of cars, cars cars… and it’s a festival, with all the craziness a festival has to offer. Larissa has been to one and survived. Now you can, too…
Bogan (n.) – person who takes little pride in his appearance, spends his days slacking and drinking beer (Australian slang)
For those who don’t know because they don’t happen to live in Australia (shame on them), Summernats is a massive car festival that happens in Canberra every summer on the weekend after New Year’s. It goes on for four days, and is mega-fun (if you can survive it without major injuries). So here is your Summernats survival guide to ensure you won’t get yourself killed the first time you attend.
1. Watch out for that sun.
One thing about summer in Australia – it is HOT. And if you fail to apply sunscreen, like I did, you will end up resembling a lobster set on fire. Which is never a good look, and hurts heaps for the next week. Also, drink masses of water, because getting carted off (because you got heatstroke and collapsed, flashing all the nearby drunks your undies in the process) is not the cool way to go, Mookybabes.
2. Go for the cars, not the guys.
For the most part, if you are a chick at Summernats, every drunk, bogan guy there expects you to flash your bubbies at them. Why else would you be there except for their chauvinist entertainment? However, the decent guys will earn so much respect for you if you’re there to check out the cars not act like a drunk skank. So many people have put so much work into their cars that it’s nice to give them the kudos they deserve.
3. Try to avoid the drunk, bogan guys.
No matter what you happen to be wearing, or what part of Summernats you happen to be in, there will always be some guy there shouting ‘Show us ya bubbies!’ The correct answer to which, by the way, is always no. Just try to avoid them. And watch what you wear. I wore handcuffs one time, and got the same comments all day, namely, ‘Take me away officer’ and, ‘He did it, I swear!’.
4. Make sure to watch the wet t-shirt contest.
It always happens late at night, by which time it’s usually freezing cold. And then you get to laugh at them. Which is fair, if they’re going to be brave/stupid enough to put themselves up there for entertainment.
5. If you’re going to watch the burnouts, wear long sleeves.
Burnouts = lots and lots of thick, burnt rubber smelling smoke. Which, if you are sitting in just the right spot, the wind will blow all over you. The smoke also has lots of tiny little specks of burnt rubber in it, which, if the smoke is blowing over you, you will get all over you and stick. Burnt rubber is harder to get off your skin than you think, ladies.
6. Bring earplugs.
Now, all around Summernats there are signs saying that they recommend earplugs, because some of those engines can get pretty damn loud. I personally think this is a load of crap, since I’ve heard louder sounds at a rock concert. But if you have delicate ears and give a damn if you damage your hearing, earplugs are the way to go.
7. Staying sober is a good idea.
I realise that at Summernats it is damn hard to stay sober, since there’s alcohol for sale absolutely everywhere, but you can try. It would be the mega-suck to get completely smashed and do something you regret, i.e. flashing (or worse) the aforementioned drunk, bogan guys. And it would suck to an ever greater extent to have your embarrassing moment end up on the Summernats DVD.
8. Bring lots of money.
Everything at Summernats is expensive. It doesn’t matter if it’s food, alcohol, or merch, it will cost so much more than you would ordinarily be willing to pay. $4 for a coke is just ridiculous. But you gotta expect it. Or else bring everything you expect to find, or go down the Ray Meiers route and live survival-style off the land.
9. Make sure you bring all the basics.
Basics should include a water bottle, sunscreen and camera. Make sure the camera batteries are charged or you’ll miss all the gorgeous cars. Walkie talkies are also a great idea as they’re so much cheaper than calling people on your mobile and they don’t require credit and you’ll never have network connection issues. Plus, if you get bored enough and someone else happens to be using the same channel as you, you can sit there and listen to their drunken conversations.
10. Get there early.
It sucks the root to spend an hour driving to a fest then another hour waiting in line for tickets. You’re hot, tired and sweaty before you even get to see any cars. The earlier you get there, the earlier you get in, because no one else can be bothered to get up that early.
So there you go, your Summernats Survival Guide. Above all, try and have some fun… and if you get yourself on a camera somewhere, you could end up on the DVD.