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2005 Fest feedback

eschady

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2002
Location
Milton, WI
TDI
2003 Jetta GL Black w/gray int.
Cool, it was my understanding from talking with previous Fest planners that this is VERY normal for people to wait until the last second. Which is one reason why I didn't push real hard for cancelling the Fest. But believe me, there was a time where both Jeff and I were very worried about the attendance.

Late registrations does put Fest planners at a serious disadvantage. We either have to 1. purchase a lot of extra in advance and hope people come (and thus put the Fest at risk of not making money for the club) or 2. Wait until the last minute and then try to "accomodate" late registrants.

Option 1 isn't very attractive because if people don't come, the Fest could lose money. Plus, how many extra do you plan for? We actually planned for an extra 50 people, but way more than that came.

Obviously option 2 is very difficult as well. It is hard to accomodate an extra 100+ people in such a short time frame. We really couldn't add on a lot of extra meals at the banquet. They needed a count a head of time. They were fairly flexible, but you can't expect them to come up with an extra 50 prime rib at the last minute.

I don't know what the solution is, but something needs to change. I really hope in the future people consider this and signup and pay as soon as they can.

There were people I talked to at the Fest who would say, "yeah, I decided to come at the last minute". I'd reply with "where are you from?". You wouldn't believe the answers. Georgia, California, etc. It really seems that you probably know more than 1-2 days in advance if you were coming (not to pick on anyone in particular). But in general, it would be very benefitial to know ASAP.

The worst group was the LOCALS! I remember in a 24 hour period less than 4 days to the Fest there were 10 signups, and 9 of them were from WI.

As for proper planning, we already admitted there were things we would have done differently. Had we known there would be tons of people showing up for biodiesel, we would have planned better. But there was very little interest in it out on the posts. We put the posts out there for each event to try and gauge the interest. I hope in the future people speak up and say what they want to do at the Fest and give planners an idea of how many to expect for each event. We honestly assumed the Show-n-shine would be the big event (hence it being at the park with 180 parking spots, and right before the pig roast an event where we assumed ALL people would attend since it was included in the fee). We thought this would really encourage everyone to move down to the park in the afternoon. But we had very little feedback as to what people WANTED to do.

And we really did appreciate those who signed up early (and paid early). Those early registrations gave us the money we needed to make deposits to secure sites, etc.
 

TDIinRI

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2002
Location
NOT in RI
TDI
2003 GOLF silver
Planning ahead had be really hard for some. I did not decide that I would be able to come untill the Monday before the fest. Hence, I registered on that Monday. Labour day weekend is a busy time for many and it is hard to plan that far in advance.

In my particular case, I started school the week before labour day. I did not know my class schedule until the last minute. Once I saw that I could make it to Fest w/o interfering with my school schedule, I registered.

Its tough to plan that far out and I feel for the Fest planners as well. Perhaps, an option would be to charge a small non-refundable deposit to be applied to registration costs if you are thinking of comming? Basically, some sort of small fee for those who are thinking of comming and would like to come, but cannot commit until the last minute?

Here is an idea......Keep the registration fee the same for all those who register 6 weeks prior to the event. If you do not register less than 6 weeks before the event, the registration fee doubles. However, since many people decide last minute, you do not want to allienate them. No problem, devise an amicable solution: For those who are unsure whether or not they can come until sort of last minute, institute the following policy... Allow those poeple to pay a $10 or $20 non-refundable deposit to go towards registration costs. If they make this "deposit" 6 weeks or more prior to the Fest, they are locked in at the same rate at those who registered 6 weeks prior to the event.

In this case, I would definitely have done something like that. For this fest, once you registered, you were out $60, even if you could not make it. As such, there was no incentive to sign up early. I would have definitely registered sooner if all I would be out was $10 or $20 should I have not been able to make it. Would have treated it as a donation to Freds, not a biggie. The full $60 is more of a hit for many. That way, if I do wind up going, my cost is the same not more, and if I don't go, I am not out as much.

This also provides Fest planners with some working capital. Afterall, if you can get an extra 80 people to put up a deposit on top of lets says 30 or so fully registered people, that gives you a nive amount of extra money to work with!

Putting out a carrot, so to speak is necessary IMO. Most people will bite.....

Also, as a marketing major, I will say, MUCH more effort needs to be put into marketing this event. It was somewhat unclear to me what would truely be on offer until I got there. The fact that the hotel had a pool, hot tub, and work out room should have been played up. And that is only one example....
 

paramedick

TDIClub Enthusiast, Vendor
Joined
Jul 29, 2001
Location
Versailles, Kentucky
TDI
2015 Audi Q5 TDI, 2000 New Beetle
I think the registration part is laziness. I registered and prepaid for my rooms last November for the great rates. I waited on the 'Fest registration because I knew I had time.

I am not adverse to registering early. Perhaps a surcharge if you register after a certain date, maybe 90 days pre-fest?

Truthfully, I had not realized that it was such a close thing. Kinda like that line "if you build it, they will come".
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
I didn't know it was a close thing, either. If I had known, I would have registered sooner. I was coordinating a meeting immediately after Labor Day that was in either Miami or Chicago (fortunately ended up in Chicago) and a meeting in CT that might have run through the Friday before the Fest. So I really didn't know if I could make it until about 5 days before. I reserved my hotel so I could cancel and didn't register until I knew I could make it.

I suggest you increase the price of registration (to $90, say) and charge $60 or so for registration early. If you did that I would have registered sooner and just figured it was money to the site if I didn't make it.

I was only on the periphery last year when the Fest was in MA (20 min from my house) because Labor Day weekend is a tough time for those of us with kids starting school around then. I had tons more fun this year because I knew more people and there was more to do. I'll make a point of getting there in the future, even if it's further away. It really was my (somewhat strange, some would say) summer vacation.
 

Hamsterdiesel

TDIClub Enthusiast , Veteran Member & HO5G CoFound
Joined
Jul 30, 2002
Location
NH
TDI
1999 Golf IV, Black and now 2015 Reflex Silver Passat SE
Re: 2005 Fest feedback *DELETED*

Post deleted by Hamsterdiesel
 

Hamsterdiesel

TDIClub Enthusiast , Veteran Member & HO5G CoFound
Joined
Jul 30, 2002
Location
NH
TDI
1999 Golf IV, Black and now 2015 Reflex Silver Passat SE
<double post>

This thread is to help the future planners, is it not?

Then arguing and being defensive is pointless.

It's been said that the planners didn't know what the attendees wanted. Then be quiet and listen. We ARE the attendees.

The most important thing that folks need to realise before they even consider putting a bid in for the Fest is that the Fest is NOT just another GTG. Planning and running the Fest is NOT like organizing a big GTG. (I know, I have done/assisted with both.)

The Fest has an importance to it - so much so that some people schedule their summer vacations (and lives) around it. It's good thing, too - it helps with attendance!

It is also an important fundraiser for this site. It needs to be respected and treated with a little more dignity than a local wrench-fest. (I am NOT making any references to the current fest here, just a statement!)

That's why we set aside a time for the Show -N- Shine, because people take that seriously. People actually look forward to the awards each year. That's why we have an Awards Banquet and a not so silent Auction. We also get excited over the new year's Fest tee shirt design. All of these things are important to the integrity of the Fest from year to year. As a group, these some of the core things we look forward to in a Fest. All the other stuff is extra - like the sightseeing, brewery tours and even the go cart racing. These things work because of the core of activities which we count on from year to year! If you mess with the core of the Fest, you will see attendance drop, and Fred will always win the long distance award.

I'm not sure where you were going with the vendors. Whining about not having vendors visit your local GTG's has nothing to do with a Fest. Vendors are a key part of the Fest, and likely attend wherever the Fest may be.
 

Keir_Asher

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Location
Eagle Lake, MN
TDI
'93 Honda Accord Wagon
I'm not sure where you were going with the vendors. Whining about not having vendors visit your local GTG's has nothing to do with a Fest. Vendors are a key part of the Fest, and likely attend wherever the Fest may be.

I think this is a bit harsh. Especially after you said this:
Then arguing and being defensive is pointless.
I figure I'll get judged by my statements and ripped like everyone else, but what the hay.

It is also an important fundraiser for this site. It needs to be respected and treated with a little more dignity than a local wrench-fest.
These are cars, right?

I was extremely thankful and interested in 'garage time'. Why? I consider myself a fool to not take advantage of so much TDI brainpower ALL localized in one place!! I had a few things to do and what better place to do it than the FEST! To my knowlegde, this is the farthest west I have seen Rocketchip. So I got chipped. I got to see first hand how to install a Diesel Geek Panzer, multiple times. I ran out of time to try to install my own. I cleaned my intake and bought all gaskets and an air filter needed from Danix! The best part is I got to shake all their hands!! Ed's point is, we don't see vendors come out here too often. Whose fault? No ones.
I am extremely appreciative of all the help and opportunity I recieved.

I got to finally meet Paramedick, whom I have had numerous email correspondencs with. I met a few others whom I have had "chatted" with from the boards as well. Being selfish, I got everything I desired from the Fest.

I only had saturday available to me therefore I drove 5 hours(each way), arriving at noon and got home at 3:30 Sunday am.

For future fests, I think it would be poor judgement to take wrenching out of the options. As far as the 'show and shine', it doesn't have to be an either/or equation. All can have their cake and eat it too! Perhaps moving the car show to Sunday would have been better received.

I don't think bashing the Wi crew is right or in the spirit of TDIclub.com. They did everything they could to make this a successfull fest. I think they accomplished this.

Hamsterdiesel, I apologize for sounding like a jerk. My statements are in defense of my chosen actions at the Fest (which was awesome!).

I guess everyone has their own interpretaion of what the fest means to them. Good luck to future organizers!
 

Hamsterdiesel

TDIClub Enthusiast , Veteran Member & HO5G CoFound
Joined
Jul 30, 2002
Location
NH
TDI
1999 Golf IV, Black and now 2015 Reflex Silver Passat SE


I am not bashing the WI crew. I think they did a fine job with what they had to work with. I had a good time at this Fest.

As I said...this thread is to help future planners. I am pointing out the trends of the fests and what 'frequent flyers' look for in a Fest.

The Fest needs to be treated with respect if you honestly expect folks to plan their lives and vacations around it.

(Why am I repeating myself?)

Yes, these are CARS. BUT - When you gather folks from around the world (yes, someone came from the UK to a previous Fest) that's when it becomes more about the PEOPLE.
 

bluenb1

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2003
Location
Wisconsin, USA
TDI
New Beetle, 98, Blue
I'm not pointing out anyone in particular here. Yes, this IS for future fest organizers.

First off...I think the shop time was a HUGE hit. Let's face it, if the vendors are going to come in full force with their trailers/cars packed full, in order to get folks encouraged to purchase something like a skid place, nozzles, *place what ever you want to here* then having the shop time DOES work out to an advantage. From what we were told is that in the past fests, folks couldn't even change their oil in the hotel parking lot. Not many folks get the opportunity to actually LIFT their car up and look around underneath to put the skid plate on.

Again, we looked at the schedule and attempted to fit things in the schedule so they weren't overlapping. The slow speed skills course was in the morning. The show n shine was in the afternoon. Folks could very easily have entered BOTH if they weren't looking for any shop time or skipped the slow speed skills course if they were so serious into the show n shine.

Yes, I'll agree...it may have been nice to move the show n shine to Sunday. It's definitely something to think about for the future. We had to be out of the banquet hall by 7:30ish. Sorry...but it was a holiday weekend and dinner started at 5:30ish so I think that's pretty close to typical dinner time.

If you haven't done one of these fests, please, don't comment that you know how it is or you feel your friend’s pain...you don't. It's very gut wrenching at times and loss of sleep is common. We try and think of everything. It takes MULTIPLE phone calls to get something as simple as 50 orange cones. I placed the order for the lanyards TWICE within 2 weeks of the event dates. First time, I ordered 100 lanyards and name badge holders(we only had something like 55 or so registered two weeks prior to the event so 100 should be enough right?). They shipped the lanyards, but no holders. OH CRAP! I called, they lost the order. So, I had to reorder them. Ok, finally got them. Oh oh...more folks begin to register in the last week. So, I have to scramble and order another 75 of each. This was just one of the little minute things that folks don't realize that get screwed up. Especially when you only have a very SMALL number of folks registered so close to the event. Do you realize that if we would have only charged 15-20 for the "early registration" it wouldn't have even covered the basics (tdi lapel pin, lanyard, badge holder, pig roast dinner, town hall rental, and shop rental, crane rental for photo shoot, tent rental, and lots of others) where does the donation to Fred come into play here?

T-shirts...there was only 1 other submittal for t-shirt design. Also, because of the number of last minute registrations, the t-shirt numbers were given to the guy printing them on the Wednesday before the event. Again, last minute in order to accommodate the procrastination...shirts were picked up on Thursday night at 5:30p.m. If anything would have gone wrong...no time for plan "b" and no t-shirts. Same thing with the caterer for the pig roast, pub lunch and banquet hall.

I wanted to cut off the registration with a deadline. I STILL believe in that and that's what I'll suggest to the future organizers. Maybe that will get folks to sign up earlier? I know, some of you will try and be pig headed and state that this will cut registrations down. No, if you're serious about attending...then show your dignity and register earlier. I wanted to shut the registration down 2 weeks prior to the event. Instead I was talked into letting it go up until the day of...someone should have put a bullet to my head.

OH...and on the cheesy certificates....we tried to line up getting some trophies donated...but that was one of those "OH CRAP" items that fell off the plate because after contacting the supplier of the trophies (numerous times), they decide they aren't going to participate in the fest two days before! Thus, certificates because we had to do something! Again, you have NO IDEA about what happens behind the scenes. So we had to come up with the paper, frames, printer last minute. Please, don't discount the certificates. We tried and would have liked to have had something better.
We thought there may have been some issues with the sponsoring dealership and therefore the dyno as well again, just a few days before the event!
Fortunately, everything worked out.
So...please, you don't feel the pain. These are just a few of the examples. These are things that the future organizers will have to endure.
How can things like this be avoided? Well, my word of advise is get as many ducks in a row as possible. Get contracts signed. But even those can be broken. Promote the early registration. Have a "small discount for early registrations. Have a cut off date for registration. Especially for those things that require #'s of attendees like dinners, t-shirts. If folks don't sign up by the registration deadline, then they aren't very serious about attending TDIFest.
Most importantly...and I'm a firm believer of this...do your own thing. Dance to a different tune. Otherwise the fests will get hum drum. Try things out. Keep it exciting. I still had a few ideas that didn't get discussed or implemented. If the future organizers ask, I'll share them.
If the show n shine folks take it so seriously, then we would have had more show n shine entries. Show me the money (entries). Maybe it wasn't popular because there were a lot of other things to do at this fest instead of polishing up a car for half the day? Just a thought. Shop time seemed popular. That's a fact. I've heard a lot of positive comments about how all of the events were very localized and close. So I'd say that was a plus.
I'd say things like the brewery or extra curricular activities are not warranted. There's too much effort involved in order to get those set up when folks don't utilize them. Again, it took multiple phone calls to the place, took convincing them that we'd have quite a turn out (seemed to be a lot of interest) so they agreed to get a tent set up (rented) and tables/chairs (rented) in order to accommodate our group. I got there at about 8:30 that night and only saw about 5-6 folks from the fest. They were inside. The band was good (Chicago Blues style music) and the weather was good and the beer was good and cold. But hardly anyone took advantage of it. We had to arrange for a shuttle van. I don't know if it was even used? So, for future planners, do what you want to do.

Bottom line is everyone has an idea. But they're not doing the organizing. Call the past organizers and talk to them about what worked and what didn't. What were nightmares and caused major indigestion. People will still ***** if you hang them with a new rope.
 

DIESELprogrammer

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2003
Location
NorEastern, Washington, USA
TDI
Golf GLS, 2003, Silver/Gray
Having participated for many years in the planning, organizing, and implementation of much larger “user” type events, I’ll offer a couple of comments.

If you want more people to register earlier you have to offer an incentive. Early registration at $$, after a certain date it becomes $$$, and on-site is $$$$.

All pay events need to have an easily identifiable verification in the packet that the attendee has paid. I was surprised that there were no tickets to the banquet like there were for the other meals and ice cream. I wondered the whole time how I was proving that I paid for my daughter and I. Even brought the registration sheet just in case.

Something should have been moved to Sunday or more should have been added that day. When people have to choose what to do because so much is going on they get a greater perception of getting their time and moneys worth. The Show-n-Shine would have been a good one for me on Sunday. After driving almost 1800 miles, I really didn’t feel like washing and waxing right away. An extra day and I probably would have.

A blow horn or amplifier is definitely needed for the raffle, along with more assistance to speed it up.

If you are going to promote this as a family event, you need to provide more family friendly pricing and entertainment/events. I talked with a lot of people that had left their kids at home. Why, I don’t know – cost, things for them to do, etc?

Remember that this is feedback, not criticism! My daughter and I had a very good time.
 

Keir_Asher

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Location
Eagle Lake, MN
TDI
'93 Honda Accord Wagon


I am not bashing the WI crew. I think they did a fine job with what they had to work with.
What does that mean?
The Fest needs to be treated with respect if you honestly expect folks to plan their lives and vacations around it.
I missed the part where it was disrespected.

(Why am I repeating myself?)

Yes, these are CARS. BUT - When you gather folks from around the world (yes, someone came from the UK to a previous Fest) that's when it becomes more about the PEOPLE.
What was it that made this fest not about the PEOPLE? I am curious.

I am sorry your experience was so poor.
 

Hamsterdiesel

TDIClub Enthusiast , Veteran Member & HO5G CoFound
Joined
Jul 30, 2002
Location
NH
TDI
1999 Golf IV, Black and now 2015 Reflex Silver Passat SE
Remember that this is feedback, not criticism!
I agree - a shame that things are getting blown out of proportion. I'll try one more time.


It's not all about WI. It's about future fests.


I know about orders of items coming in **broken** (read smashed) just a week before the Fest. I know about T-shirts being picked up at the printer's during registration Friday night. I know what can (and has) gone wrong. That's why I care enough to beat my head against the wall that is this thread in the hopes that future organizers will benefit.
 

Jetter_Sprinta

Veteran Member - TDIClub Contributor
Joined
Nov 7, 2002
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
TDI
2 Peeps sharing 1 UseYerName//an array of cars
Scott and I didn't make the trip to Wisconsin, but considered it right up to Friday. If we had gone, we would have paid our registration as walk ups (because, after all, it is a donation to Fred's) and enjoyed *not* being on the organization team this year.

Organizing a Fest is a HUGE undertaking. We warned the organizers when they made their submission. As a former organizer, I will share some hints:

- No matter how well you plan, things will go wrong
- If you are an organizer, your role continues on through the duration of the Fest. Chances are, this will not be the Fest that you will look back on as a really fun, relaxing, participatory event. If Scott's mother hadn't cleaned his T-red B4 for the prize winning show n'shine entry, we would have only participated in the slow speed event--and that was only because it was slow--destressful, get it?
- You can't cut off registration. People who make the effort to come--some as late as walk ons--should be encouraged to "participate" in the event. Like others have said, you can motivate people to register and pay early, but cutting people out will only cheese them off.
- People don't always read the pre-Fest posts.
- Orders don't come as you expected. Two rounds of SMASHED TDI pint glasses was proof.
- You have to provide activities, but you have to give people time to do things.
- And finally, no matter what you do, there will be people who complain.

Now...anyone else want to try and complete with our Spectacular 2004 New England Fest?!
 

danix

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2000
Location
Walnut Creek, CA
TDI
Former: 2011 335d, 2010 Jetta TDI, 2003 Jetta TDI Wagon. 99.5 Jetta TDI, 98 NB TDI, 3 different black 96 Passat TDI wagons.
I actually wrote up a few items during the (very long) drive home, planning on some constructive criticism.

First off, anyone who thinks he/she could have done a better job organizing should step up to the plate and pitch for next year's Fest. Location, time and circumstance affect planning and the actual events, as well as the various unknowns that come up.

So, I'll be brief. Remember that I was attending first as a vendor, second as a TDIclub member, which skews my perspective a little.

Highs:
- Being so far from home allowed me to meet many new faces, some of whom were already customers, as well as many TDIclub members and other vendors like Jim (Dieselgeek).
- The hotel was very nice for the price, nicer than I think anyone expected.
- The food at the pig roast was great and having the large lot for a group photo was very nice.
- Having the organizers in a distinctly colored shirt was very nice and helpful.
- I didn't get to go there but noticed that the garage was very well attended. I heard a few grumbles from people who wanted hands-on demos of things like doing their brakes, but I pointed out that local GTGs are the perfect venue for something like that. Chipping and minor mods are fine for this type of event, but I think you're nuts if you're doing a TB job on a holiday weekend, and need to be back at work across the country the next day. The risk is just too high.
- The brewery trip was nice. Yes, we took the van, but by the time we arrived there was no band and the tent was empty.
- Indiana has a 70mph speed limit!

Not so highs:
- PA goes up and down, OH, IL, ID, and WI are flat. Damn this was a long trip.
- As a vendor, I automatically became isolated from various activities, which overlapped with my "vending". Missed the biodiesel talk, though it was only 10 feet over, the show'n-shine, and possibly other events. One thing that was nice at Boston was that certain events were blocked off so everyone could attend (for ex, the F1 Boston trip). Yes, the show'n'shine probably should have been on Sunday, with the vendors set up outside around the event.
- Sunday was confusing. A few of us vendors set up in the hotel conference room as per the schedule (after having been set up the day before in town) and saw people for about an hour, then everyone vanished for the road rally. I took a trip to town where Jim, Jeff and Kerman had set up shop, but they didn't see to be all that busy, though there were more people, so I chose to stay back at the hotel.
I guess my suggestion is this - if you're going to have vendors come out and set up, ensure that you have foot traffic in their immediate area. The ideal would be to have the event in a large dome-type structure where you could have lectures/seminars in the center, cars scattered around them, and vendors in a specific area near the cars, where those vendors can be securely set up for the duration of the event.
- I'm one of those that feels the auction format is more profitable to the Club than the raffles. Show me the numbers and prove me wrong, but that's my gut.
- I chose not to bring my family. If I had, I think I'd be divorced
Seriously, there was not a whole lot for family-oriented stuff to do if you are not into cars, but on the other hand, how do you compete with downtown Boston?
- Banquet. I don't recall what we paid for the banquet, but it seemed to be high relative to the quality of the food and the venue itself. The event itself dragged on for far too long and instead of having us in chairs from 3pm on, it should have been in a cocktail-hour type setting where we could all mill about. Yes, you're right, people should have just gotten up out of their chairs

- The locale was cute and quaint, but kind of isolated. Any ideas of popping over to a Kinko's for last minute print work or supplies were squashed. I did spend 20 minutes looking for the Kmart but only came across a cornfield with big signs saying "No Wal-Mart!" Um, OK, thanks.
- Not sure if any of the organizers noticed, but there were a lot of people outside by their cars late on Sunday night after hitting the local Kwik-Mart for 6 packs. This shows there is a need for more social time, and that having the cars nearby is important. Much the same happened last year in Boston, and yes, Jeff was still working late at night there too
Perhaps having a signup board for a variety of activities would work?

All in all, I think the event was a success, and I appreciate the efforts of all involved. I've pondered what it would take to hold the event here in NY, and the fact that I am still pondering shows how very difficult it is to select an appropriate venue.
 

VW Derf

Administrator
Joined
Jul 3, 1996
Location
Richmond, BC, Canada
TDI
2010 Blue Graphite Pearl Golf Variant
Guys, there is no reason to take any of this personally. The Fest went very well this year. Jeff and Ed (and all the other people involved) did an outstanding job. No questions there.

It is always a learning experience. Having worked with the different organizing committees local issues can dictate a lot of different items. Can any fest be improved on? You bet. Are there things that worked out better than expected? You bet. Did some new ideas work out? You bet. Did some not work out as expected? You bet. Did people have a good time? You bet.

My main things for the fest is that everyone has a good time, meet members from near and far, socialize, and learn. Fundraising is secondary to me as if everyone has a good time there will be something left over to help run the site.

For those considering hosting a fest, it is a worth while event. Past organizers have always volunteered to give some assistance and a lot can be learned. The fests are an evolving event and it is a great way to give back to the community as a whole. IMHO the main items for a crew to have are committed people to help organized (4?), a workable area (WI has shown us not everything has to be at the same location) with out exorbitant hotel rates (<$100 night, preferable $~75).

I have been reading these comments with great interest and will use some of these items for future suggestions to organizers. If you have things you wish to email me, feel free to. Again, this is just feedback for future items and in no way should be considered criticism of the WI crew (who did a great job).

Thanks,

Fred
 

jachady

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jul 5, 2004
Location
Fort Atkinson, WI
TDI
auto dealer
As a fest planner for this year, here's my take. I spent most of my time in the park organizing the Slow Speed autocross in the morning, and helping out a little bit of everywhere in the afternoon. It seemed to me that the bio-diesel and the garage time were the two biggest draws, both were absolutley packed anytime I looked. I know we packed everything into Saturday, but that shouldn't have stopped anyone from doing it all. Stephan (newguy) managed to get a baseline dyno on both cars, have Jeff chip his cars, get a final dyno and still have time to run both cars in the autocross. Thne he put both cars into the show and shine. We all, vendors included, had to choose what we wanted to do. Any vendor could have shut down his or her booth to partake in an activity, even if that activity is just socializing. Like has been said many times in this post, if the Fest is about the people maybe vending shouldn't be as important.

Danix, the part about Sunday that made it confusing was the amount of people at Topels garage. We had Topels on the schedule from 7:00 to Noon, but we still had to kick people out of the shop at 3:00 so that we could get to the banquet. Topels, the road rally and the vendor setup were the only thing on the schedule, again we couldn't force anyone to do anything. Imagine how bad it would have been had we also had the show and shine Sunday. We made Sunday more open so that people could go out on their own and do some sightseeing. There is actually alot to do and I heard alot of people took advantage of this. Madison, the states capital was only 25 minutes away.

My thought on the Fest "for the people or the car debate" is this: You all came together because of three things, the letters T, D and I. Not because you're an engineer, an accountant or a salesperson. Even me, a non TDI owner was involved because of those initials. If my brother had asked me to help organize an accounting weekend or even a Saturn weekend, I would have laughed at him. I agree that it is nice to put faces to the names on this site, but remember, its the cars that brought you all together. So the cars, what they can do, and what you can do to them should be a huge part of the Fest. A direct result of that is some great socializing.

I think everyone who attended the fest had a great time, got to meet great people and learned alot about their cars.

John
 

TDIinRI

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2002
Location
NOT in RI
TDI
2003 GOLF silver
I have never organised a fest. So no, I do not know what went on behind the scenes. No doubt that is was nerve wracking with plenty of "hickups" thrown in. Did I express both my criticism and praise? YES! That, I believe, is the entire point of the thread.

I want to say this to the WI organisers.........PLEASE don't take all of this personally. You guys did a great job and gave it your all. We all appreciate what you have done. Perhaps we don't know about some of the circumstances behind your decisions and whatnot. That's fine, nothing said by any was intended as a slight, I'm sure. Some things go well, others don't.....oh well, that's life. Nobody can accuse you guys of not giving it your all, and that's all that matters.

Afterall, it was a GREAT time! Even if I knew exactly what was going to happen and how it was going to be ahead of time, I would have still gone!!!

There is one thing that I do take issue with.......And that is the matter of closing registration early. I did not know that I would be able to attend until the Monday before the Fest. I knew I wanted to go the 2005 Fest the day I got back from the Boston 2004 Fest. However, that does not mean I would be able to! Thanks to quirky scheduling that has me in school Mondays and Wednesdays, from early AM to late evening, my schedule opened allowed me to make the trip to WI.

Because my college schedule was not finalised until a few days prior to Fest, I should be barred from attending? I DON'T THINK SO!!! Afterall, I am an active member of this club. It's a great group of people. Many here in New England will tell you that I try to attend as many GTGs as I can. I always have a lot of fun with this group. HOWEVER, I am a college student first, and a club member second. I do not appreciate being told that if I am serious about going to Fest that I should know at least 2 weeks in advance. I would have LOVED to registered in May or even the beginning of August, but alas, it was not possible.

Also, I did not imply with my above post that early registration only be $15-20, but rather that serve as a "deposit" to help defray some costs. The remainder due at a later late....

Many suggestions have been made. Future Fest planners: read them all and consider them carefully. WI Fest planners: Take it with a grain of salt; you did a good job. Afterall, everything can be improved in hindsight.
 

251

TDI Owner/Operator
Joined
May 11, 2002
Location
NW IN
TDI
2015 Passat TDI SEL
I do not appreciate being told that if I am serious about going to Fest that I should know at least 2 weeks in advance. I would have LOVED to registered in May or even the beginning of August, but alas, it was not possible.
While we do need people to register early as possible there are always some situations like yours where it isn't possible to do so. That is understandable and nobody is saying "No more signups after this date prior to the Fest". Rather we need to find a way to get more earlier signups. Like one of the organizers posted above, most of the long haulers (from CA, UT, MD, GA, etc.) must've had an idea they were doing this more then a few days ahead of time. From his comments I take the meaning to be some of these people didn't register until the last minute but don't know if that was the actual situation in fact.

We just need to get more advance registrations to help insure there will be a Fest - it must be crazy for organizers to keep making arrangements while simultaneously wondering if it's time to hit the cancel button. In my opinion this is the most important thing to be addressed for future Fests. All the organizers should be concerned with is setting things up for the attendees, right?

In closing I am pleased to see the exchange of ideas in this thread and am sure they will considered for future Fests so the tradition can continue!
 

mrchill

TDIClub Enthusiast, Super Secret Diesel Ninja Vend
Joined
Sep 16, 2003
Location
MASS! home of THE WORLD SERIES CHAMPION RED SOX! x
TDI
96 B4v red \ 98 Mk3 green\98 Mk3 Jetta black\ 99 Mk4 Jetta green x2\ 99 Mk4 Golf silver x2\ 99 Mk4 Jetta black\ 97 B4 sedan green\04 JSW gold\03 JSW silver
OK GUYS, ALL POINTS WELL TAKEN. I have not attended many fests, just the last two in fact, but I enjoyed both. I thought Boston was missing the wrenching....yes missing. I feel this is important to those who NEED it. My garage was 5 min from the Boston fest and I would have benn happy to allow use of it. The Boston crew was into different stuff. No problemo.

I didnt register till late because I had to pick up a jetta I bought in Michigan a week prior and couldnt justify two long trips in a row(self employed). Fortunately, the seller agreed to meet me the weekend on the fest instead allowing me to attend and pick up the car(Thaks Peter for the ride!). I am sorry I didnt register sooner, but I wasnt actually coming. I am glad did.

I brought my family to the Boston fest because I live 5 min away. This time my kids were in school so I could not bring them. My oldest(14 yrs) would have loved it as her plan is to become a large animal vet....she LOVES cows and horses. Too bad school started. Maybe the activities in Wisconsin were not to the liking of some. Maybe so. I grew up in the city....a serious city. Yet I drove way the heck out to Wisconsin. Not for any Show and Shine, not for any raffles and\or auctions, not to visit the local sites(though it would have been nice), but to meet and greet and help where the help was needed. 2500 miles! I have NEVER done this for anyone ever. I did it for the site which I feel is a worthy and much needed resource, and for the owners of the vehicles who may(and turns out did) appreciate some help with thier vehicles.

Did the Boston Globe or the Herald print a front page article on the Boston Fest? How about NO! Lake Mills did though. The Boston fest was a lot of fun for all. Especially the out of towners, as it is a historical city full of sites to see. I didnt do any of that stuff as I grew up in Boston and could be blindfolded and still go anywhere. I ddi enjoy putting the faces with the screen names. I enjoyed the talks with the vendors. I enjoyed hangin' out with Jeff and checking out his chipping artwork(though he probably could have done without my constant prescence). I only wish I had spent more time with the people who took thier valuable time to travel to the fest from everywhere.

The Wisconson fest was also fun. I worked on cars the whole time. I didnt mind at all because it was fun and the help was needed. I missed the pig roast though I paid because I am allergic to pork...and beef. I missed the awards dinner though I paid because there were a few vehicles with serious problems that required attention or the vehicles couldnt return home. I wish I made the banquet. I missed it last year also. I think Jeff misses them every year.

The show and shine were a disappointment to many(I heard) but the garage was a hit. Balance? Maybe this fest was more hands on where the others were more observation? Overall, I spoke to many of the local folk (quad state) and they all expressed great joy that the seminars and repairs were there. Many said they have a serious lack of local Tdi guru types and were very appreciative of the hands on aspect, yet not at all interested in the show and shine. Just a different locale folks. I spoke to so many non Tdi folks and just plain passers by that stopped watched listened and read all that was going on and became keenly interested in a type of vehicle and a website that would create such a vast group of people to come together in this way.

This is what it is about. Awareness. We support Freds because Freds spreads awareness. The fest spreads awareness. In this way it was a resounding success. For future fest planners. Sure you have to take into account all the previous fests and your particular areas interests, but awareness of our alternative fuel vehicles and the people who will take time and money away from themselves to help people they have never met is what it is really about. If you can do that, and have some fun in the process, then a successful fest you will have made.

Next year, I'll go wherever it is!
 

Jetter_Sprinta

Veteran Member - TDIClub Contributor
Joined
Nov 7, 2002
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
TDI
2 Peeps sharing 1 UseYerName//an array of cars
I understand that wrenching was a big plus at this year's Fest. My first Fest was Toronto, and one of my most vivid images was the guy who did a timing belt change in the hotel parking lot, and numerous really kind souls devoted A LOT of time to eventually making this successful. There were some very patient spouses involved, as well.

I have to weigh in with those who say they'd like to keep the wrenching closer to home, since driving home is eventually part of the plan. On the other hand, I absolutely cherish the assemblage of know how that mills around each TDI.

In the Northeast, we are REALLY lucky. At one GTG, I had four TDIEinsteins paying attention to my car at once. I can't say that wrenching is a bad thing at a Fest if you can take advantage of this kind of talent, but on the other hand, I would feel really guilty for taking up their time when they are *contributing* members there at a Fest to have a good time. And a good time may mean taking a break from getting grease under their nails.
 

truman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 18, 2000
Location
columbia,MO,usa
TDI
'05 Passat Variant, Still miss the 03JW
IMO, the majority of participants at this year's Fest were decidedly more interested in the hands-on events than Show and Shine. They voted with their feet. The organizers have nothing to apologize for. If the members want the event to be cookie cuttered, then the same organizers need to be at the helm year after year. I think I would have had a good time if the events had be structured differently, but I didn't have expectations that needed to be met either.
 

gearhead

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2001
Location
Weirton, WV (close to Pittsburgh)
TDI
2001 Golf
* The constructive feedback/observations (as posted here) are very helpful to those planning future TDI Fests. As such, each successive event adds to the success of upcomming Fests. When issues are identified (both positive & negative), solutions can be addressed or past ideas incorporated. Past TDI Fests are the Keystones/foundation of future Fests.

I couldn't attend this years Fest, but hopefully I will at the next. It sounds like great fun. With that said, Thank You for hosting this year's Fest, and thank you to those in past years.
 
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