Photos By: Kurshid M. – Joseph Dale
This was our first trip down to the Mystery Meat held by V2Lab out of Orlando. V2lab and SF have always had a tight relationship, back when SF first started I would share a lot of their content before I even met anyone involved with the site. The content was fresh, and the quality was like what we would see in a magazine. Part of the success is from the owner Ravi Angard, a published photographer out of Orlando. In the early days of SF I would talk with Ravi about SF and get advise about photography, and about making big decisions with SF. And he always offered truthful advise about building the SF name, and continues to do so to this day.
The scene is Floria is huge compared to any of the neighboring states. Partially due to the weather and size, there is really no off season for them. Last year their event was held in downtown Orlando, and completely shut down the entire city. The event was absolutely insane so much that they had to move to a controlled area in hopes of controlling the size of the crowd. See Mystery Meat 3 Coverage here
This year it was moved to Orlando Speedworld. And we were advised to be there at around 4am to setup because of the crowd that shows up before the gates open. I thought it would be way too early, but I set my alarm to 3:30am and planned on getting out there at 4am. But when my alarm went off, I just laid there in the bed and checked Instagram and the event page on FB to see if there was any activity.
And sure as shit, there were people posting photos in line, and parking their cars in the field as early as 3:45am. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen. The V2lab team was forced to let people in and park in spectator parking before hand because of the amount of people that had came early.
We arrived at the venue at about 4:45 and got setup. We managed to catch a few minutes of sleep before the sun came up, and the crowd started to fill up the place.
V2lab manages to bring out more then your typical car person, there were entire families that came to spend the afternoon just to look at the vehicles. Its not like your typical event that we usually attend, that is powered by the internet hype. It is an event on another scale, and I dont even know how V2lab totally skipped the small time part with the event, and gets the entire city to come out. Because it has always been on a large scale every since Mystery Meat 1.
Most of the parking was on low grass, and it was completely filled to capacity all over the facility. We never made it over to the large lot on the opposite side of the track, and we apparently missed a lot.
The Mystery Meat had much more going on throughout the day. $10.00 gets you entry into the event, unlimited runs on the 1/4 mile track, and Auto X track. By the way, the Camry won…
Photo of our good friend Matt Mummert doing a few runs in his bagged A6. Matt came away with the victory in style.
At first the line to run on the track was not that long, but after everyone realized it was free with admission. It got crazy, and it was atleast a hour long wait to get a run. This is the line about 50 yards outside the vendor area.
The main issue with the day, was leaving. I am not sure what happened or why everyone decided like it was a good time to get in their cars and form a 9 wide line to squeeze out to a 2 lane road to leave. But it turned into a disaster that could have been avoided if people would have obeyed traffic rules and stuck to single file line out. All these cars you see in this photo are in line to leave…
It was a good time to get photos of some of the cars that were crowded around most of the day. but most of the people in the cars had been sitting in that spot for about 2 hours.
2jz powered M3 sedan was a favorite of mine. The owner gave up, and took a nap until traffic died down.
This is the money shot of the traffic disaster leaving the main lot of the Mystery Meat. There were a few people helping to make the line move at the exit, but it was a nightmare. We would see someone leave and would not get outside the fence to the 2 lane road for about 2 hours.
This is a photo of the road that all those cars are trying to get on. Towards the beginning of the day there were tons of staff on site to help. But as the crowds came, and the day progressed a lot of the volunteers had abandoned their commitment. So it left the team in a sticky situation. It was a shitty situation for anyone to deal with.
Ravi offered a explanation and apology about the situation via facebook:
First off – I want to apologize to anyone who tried to come to the event and was stuck in traffic. When I put these events together – they are for everyone, to experience everything – car-culture related; oddly enough sitting in traffic is a part of the game. But I wished everyone could experience the event and take part.
Secondly as far as logistics and traffic flow:
We did our best as far as “trying to figure out how to get people to park” – but even after countless posts about no holding spots – we need everyone in and parked; people would block spaces, or do things to try and save spaces for their buddies. I get it – the point of these events is to hang with friends what not – but from the parking side of things; you saw how crazy it got – we just needed you to park.
Crazy side note: We went from a huge line at 7-9am to small spurts of cars pulling in to a huge crazy unstoppable rush at like ~12noon..
The volunteer staff (most of them) did the best they could and I appreciate all of their help – most of them quickly realized yesterday the level of stress and conflict with go through to deal with large amounts of the general public in a high stress situation.
I kept getting reports of staff just quitting out mid-shift or whatever; but the truth of the matter is – anyone who is trying to help whos efforts aren’t being noticed will eventually quit….
What caused the biggest traffic jam of the day? The staging lanes for the drag strip opened; and we were still flowing traffic in with no issues – then out of no where – someone turned the one in one out lanes into two (to the drag strip) – none in, or none out; if we had structured that better – that literal bottle neck would have changed the dynamic of the entire event. I take responsibility for not thinking that through and predicting that would happen.
The Auto-X side of the event: Circuit Motorsports did an incredible job – setting up, running, and helping everyone have the best time possible doing auto-x. Everyone I spoke to who ran it – said they loved it and wanted to go again.
The Drag Racing side: I wish we had a bit more structure to the staging lanes and how the lines drew out – but again predicting that was a bit out of my realm.
The Food Trucks: I heard someone complain about prices – but i didn’t hear anyone complain about food – Good food, costs good money. I wish I could have eaten (at all). I hadn’t eaten from 1am and didn’t eat until 10:30pm
Grass parking always sucks. I sat at one bump for an hour and helped people make it through a dip properly.
Also I want to thank Luis Rivera II and @Chris Agosto for jumping on the ruckus’s and acting quickly to help find the missing child as soon as we got a tip where he might be! We found him like emoticon and that was awesome!
Also I just want to Thank all the vendors for coming out, showing up on time, and getting set up early – I know 3:30-4am is crazy for any show – but you guys saw how crazy it got and quick.
Anyways… I hope a bunch of people got to experience what the track is like, experience some motorsports, and hopefully look forward to more motorsports related events in the future (outside of v2lab stuff).
These events are about the experience, not about the money or anything like that – we want you (if you are not apart of our culture to see why we love our culture) that’s why they are set up the way they are set up. Anyways now back to the drawing boards.
This is an open thread to complaints, suggestions, hate, love, whatever..
PS: I assume more than half the people who saw me didn’t figure it out.. but i am the one who is always riding a small black bmx bike at all these events… therefore i am sore as fuck.
PPS: i didn’t proof read this – because proof reading is for the weak (lol).
-Ravi Angard see the post here
As a person that has done events over the years, I have known that a large crowd is something that you wish for. But when it happens and shit hits the fan, you dont want it any more. What the V2lab team has created is a solid event for Orlando. Every year the location reveals another obstacle for the team to over come. But the foundation is there for a nice event for the future.
We are curious to see what happens to this event next year. Thanks for looking