It was a roller coaster ride for the organisers of Downunder Beachfest on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast this year, the seaside shindig that’s attracted a large and loyal following since its inception in 2015.
With event restrictions changing regularly throughout the planning stages, what transpired over the preceding months would be enough for anyone to hang up their dancing shoes!
With the Ryno Insurance Downunder Beachfest 2020 cancelled for obvious reasons, running an event in 2021 became an even higher priority for the team and their sponsors. The big weekend would be scheduled for its traditional early June weekend, although the program and format were adjusted accordingly.
“Then miraculously 3-4 weeks out from the event, all restrictions came off, except that we weren’t allowed to have dancing. Wow, it was a big gamble, but in the end, it came off!” said ASRF QLD Divisional Director and event host, Colin Chapman.
The 2021 Ryno Insurance Downunder Beachfest itinerary began on Wednesday, June 9, the first couple of days reserved for RnR and including workshop cruises, big brekkys, and the very popular Lotto Run on Friday, hosted by local club, Suncoast Rod & Custom. But the event really got hopping on Friday evening with the Bowdens Own Supercruise, one of the major attractions for entrants and locals alike.
Saturday is the one day of the weekend where all entrants are invited to park up in the heart of Caloundra for the massive street show. The early morning bump in was made much easier with the lower entrant numbers, but from a spectator point of view the place was jam packed, filling in every nook and cranny on every street within the precinct. The pre-83 cut off for vehicles is aimed at making the event more inclusive for all ages, resulting in a good mix of vehicles, although hot rods and rock and roll era classics are still predominant.
“In 2018 we had 699 cars officially. We were bulging at the seams! This year we had just over half the entrants that we normally do, 392 entries, but easily 30,000 people. The weather was absolutely divine, and there was an event that people could finally come out to.”
Typically, the itinerary would include evening entertainment, and all going well it will return in 2022. For 2021, the Sunday cruises would flag an end to the long weekend.
Colin is quietly confident that 2022 will go ahead without any restrictions, and he’s keen to start introducing some new elements to the weekend without altering the format.
“We don’t want to change the formula that much, but if we can improve it, we will.”