TDIFest 2014 -Looking for Expressions of Interest

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romad

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I think one of the problems is that, unlike my Mazda Miata, there aren't any TDI clubs around the two countries and there isn't any corporate support from VW. There are about 155 Miata clubs, 16 in Canada alone. These clubs put on regional events, and one has hosted both National Miata Anniversary events (10 year and 20 year). Mazda provided support to those and other events. It would be nice to get similar support from VW for the TDIFests.
 

JSWTDI09

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Would everyone that has already worked on a fest in the northeast quadrant please NOT do anything for next year.

Let's see the guys and gals from other locations step up to host.
There is already the beginnings of a plan and the formation of a team of volunteers for a Fest in the Denver area. Please do not suggest that we get rid of the only committee member with first hand experience in putting together a TDIFest. Yes, he has worked on several other past fests but he is willing and able to work on this one too. Nothing is for sure yet, but lets not actively dissuade the willing (and experienced) from helping with future plans.

Have Fun!

Don
 

Chris Tobin

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I would imagine it would be easier to get VW involved by having it in their backyard in Chattanooga rather than across the country in Denver... But, I could be wrong too...

I have also heard that Passat sales have not met VW expectations and they are laying off about 500 workers at the Chattanooga plant, so might be tough to get any corporate involvement if they are struggling!

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/apr/19/vw-layoffs-marked-by-surprise-regret/
 

aja8888

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I would imagine it would be easier to get VW involved by having it in their backyard in Chattanooga rather than across the country in Denver... But, I could be wrong too...

I have also heard that Passat sales have not met VW expectations and they are laying off about 500 workers at the Chattanooga plant, so might be tough to get any corporate involvement if they are struggling!

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/apr/19/vw-layoffs-marked-by-surprise-regret/
They are laying off contract employees that were hired to balance production loads. Some 100 contract employees will be kept and some offered full time employment with VW. Talk of the SUV production at the plant will be a blessing if it come to pass as jobs will be added.
 

Lug_Nut

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Including people local to other areas is very important, but excluding people who have worked on northeast Fests, especially if they've worked on multiple successful Fests, is just wrong,...
There is already the beginnings of a plan and the formation of a team of volunteers for a Fest in the Denver area. Please do not suggest that we get rid of the only committee member with first hand experience in putting together a TDIFest.
OK, so that comment of mine didn't come off too well.
My suggestion that none from prior fests actively work on a proposal was an attempt to put more pressure on other locations to get their own proposals in process.
If there's only one submission to host, that kind of limits the choices of locations doesn't it?
Those that have worked on prior fests are more than willing to assist others to host their own flavor of fests, but those that have worked on prior fests don't want to be presumed to assume the responsibility of throwing a fest together when no one else steps up.
Denver? Great! Desert Southwest? I'm in! Lenexa, KS? Sure, I like spinach!
But until those proposals are submitted for consideration they are nothing but wasted keyboard strokes.

Let's have a competition among several potential host locations, and not simply a "No one else has offered? Oh, OK, I guess I can do it again..." event.
 

nicklockard

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Having worked for a Fortune 100 company at one time (and had run a Company-wide conference once), I can suggest what may be in store for one who goes to the VW plant to try to set up an event like this on their property and possibly use their interior facilities.

1. They will recommend we contact "corporate" for guidance,

2. They will mention their liability coverage may not stretch that far,

3. In the event they actually allow some kind of event with unknown persons with cars participating, they would want to review everything that is planned and modify the plan to suit what PR thinks is appropriate.

4. There would be more strings and limitations attached to this that it would probably render the event being run by them (VW), of which they wouldn't want to do in the first place

(I could just visualize an HPFP blowing up in their parking lot)


I really don't think VW would warm up to this, but I may be wrong.
Then it's settled. We do it at the VW plant--and finally get the HPFP issue properly addressed, officially :D
 

Chris Tobin

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OK, so that comment of mine didn't come off too well.
My suggestion that none from prior fests actively work on a proposal was an attempt to put more pressure on other locations to get their own proposals in process.
If there's only one submission to host, that kind of limits the choices of locations doesn't it?
Those that have worked on prior fests are more than willing to assist others to host their own flavor of fests, but those that have worked on prior fests don't want to be presumed to assume the responsibility of throwing a fest together when no one else steps up.
Denver? Great! Desert Southwest? I'm in! Lenexa, KS? Sure, I like spinach!
But until those proposals are submitted for consideration they are nothing but wasted keyboard strokes.

Let's have a competition among several potential host locations, and not simply a "No one else has offered? Oh, OK, I guess I can do it again..." event.
It seems that the majority of posters in this thread prefer to have the 2014 Fest at a resort in Denver... so it looks like it will be a one choice location again...
 

JSWTDI09

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It seems that the majority of posters in this thread prefer to have the 2014 Fest at a resort in Denver... so it looks like it will be a one choice location again...
I'm not sure about the "majority of posters" thing, but Denver is the only non-East Coast venue that seemed to generate any interest. I first tried to spark some interest in a South West venue like Los Angeles, San Diego, Flagstaff, or Albuquerque; but nobody volunteered to help organize it. When people started talking about Denver, I jumped into that. My only real goal is just to have a TDIFest within a 1 day drive of where I live, and I'm willing to help get it going (wherever).

Have Fun!

Don
 

Chris Tobin

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I'm not sure about the "majority of posters" thing, but Denver is the only non-East Coast venue that seemed to generate any interest. I first tried to spark some interest in a South West venue like Los Angeles, San Diego, Flagstaff, or Albuquerque; but nobody volunteered to help organize it. When people started talking about Denver, I jumped into that. My only real goal is just to have a TDIFest within a 1 day drive of where I live, and I'm willing to help get it going (wherever).

Have Fun!

Don
Don, I was talking about all the negative, "Denver is better", "it can be at a resort" type posts I saw after Chattanooga was suggested... I too am willing to help get things going for a Chattanooga Fest, but it seemed that no traction was gained so I kinda let it be... If others want to do it there I'll be glad to help and I think I can bring a lot to the table and make it a very fun event but it seems like a lot of members wanted to have it at a mountain resort type of location, so I'm out.
 

JSWTDI09

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Don, I was talking about all the negative, "Denver is better", "it can be at a resort" type posts I saw after Chattanooga was suggested... I too am willing to help get things going for a Chattanooga Fest, but it seemed that no traction was gained so I kinda let it be... If others want to do it there I'll be glad to help and I think I can bring a lot to the table and make it a very fun event but it seems like a lot of members wanted to have it at a mountain resort type of location, so I'm out.
I believe that a few people actually looked into Chattanooga venues. They had a hard time finding a venue that had all we need. We need lots of rooms, banquet facilities, WiFi, and lots of parking lot space that can be reserved for parking, show & shine, and vendor setup. Being near the VW factory would be nice, but we need a lot more than this to set up a TDIFest.

Have Fun!

Don
 

bhtooefr

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There was SERIOUS interest in a Chattanooga fest, and I did extensive research into it last year.

There's basically three options that would really work and be within an acceptable price range:

Downtown Marriott
Getting the VW factory to allow parking our TDIs there, and then running a shuttle between a Holiday Inn (IIRC) near the VW factory and the factory
A mediocre-sounding Holiday Inn Express in Knoxville, and driving 2-3 hours to get to the VW factory.
 

romad

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We need lots of rooms, banquet facilities, WiFi, and lots of parking lot space that can be reserved for parking, show & shine, and vendor setup.
And none of the above requires the venue to be a resort as all of that can be found at a good-sized hotel. If we could drop the "resort" fixation, it might be easier to find more venues.
 

JSWTDI09

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And none of the above requires the venue to be a resort as all of that can be found at a good-sized hotel. If we could drop the "resort" fixation, it might be easier to find more venues.
This is true. A resort is not needed. However, lots of parking lot space is required. This usually means a really big hotel, or an airport hotel, or an out of season resort hotel. Any big hotel with lots of parking lot would probably work.

Have Fun!

Don
 

bhtooefr

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And there have certainly been plenty of airport hotels used.

While I know there has been a focus on out-of-season resorts, as far as I know, it's not been to the exclusion of airport or similar hotels.

The Chattanooga case, we were looking at damn near every hotel within a couple hours of Chattanooga, both resorts and not.
 

Chris Tobin

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I believe that a few people actually looked into Chattanooga venues. They had a hard time finding a venue that had all we need. We need lots of rooms, banquet facilities, WiFi, and lots of parking lot space that can be reserved for parking, show & shine, and vendor setup. Being near the VW factory would be nice, but we need a lot more than this to set up a TDIFest.

Have Fun!

Don
Lots of rooms... Virtually any hotel has enough rooms to host a TDIFest. Lets not kid ourselves, there really were not that many people at the Lexington Fest reported attendance was 230 people and 130 cars... Just about ANY hotel in the country can accommodate that MASSIVE crowd!!!:D

Banquet Facilities... Why is the pomp and circumstance needed? I have attended MANY events, competitions and races that have had outdoor trophy presentations/awards ceremonies. Why do we need an expensive sit down dinner for the awards/auction? I know many of the club members that were at the KY Fest opted out of the banquet for the $$$. Wouldn't it be better to have something more low key and better supported/attended??? Perhaps a Circus tent rental and catered BBQ...:D

WiFi... REALLY, what hotel does not have WiFi??? Seriously, I can't remember the last hotel I stayed in that did not have WiFi. Also, this is a TDIFest not a computer convention, correct... In any major hotel there will be WiFi and there will also be good cellular coverage in virtually EVERY major city in the country... Then again, I could see this being an issue with remote mountain type resorts...:eek:

Parking... Again most major hotels have huge lots with ample space available. If VW is involved they may allow their parking lots to be used for the FEST... The hotel DOES NOT have to be the Fest location, it can be anywhere nearby the hotel, like the Drag Strip which has ample room and is close to MANY hotels, or VW or ???

Being close to the VW plant will give the best chance for VW involvement on a large scale.

When the Chattanooga location was looked at in the past, I was told, it was by out of towners that simply called places they knew or had connections with, it was not LOOKED at or into by locals that know the area and who earnestly wanted to have it there...

There was SERIOUS interest in a Chattanooga fest, and I did extensive research into it last year.

There's basically three options that would really work and be within an acceptable price range:

Downtown Marriott
Getting the VW factory to allow parking our TDIs there, and then running a shuttle between a Holiday Inn (IIRC) near the VW factory and the factory
A mediocre-sounding Holiday Inn Express in Knoxville, and driving 2-3 hours to get to the VW factory.
No offence intended, but WHY the heck would you even consider having the hotel in Knoxville for an event in Chattanooga????:confused: There are MANY hotels in the Chattanooga area, many of which are closer to the airport and VW factory than downtown Chattanooga and would offer better rates and closer proximity to VW... It does not sound like extensive research to me... but I could be totally wrong, and apologize in advance if I am...

And none of the above requires the venue to be a resort as all of that can be found at a good-sized hotel. If we could drop the "resort" fixation, it might be easier to find more venues.
My thoughts exactly. If the main goal of the TDIFest is to be in a Resort type atmosphere and enjoy the resort amenities then so be it. But, if the goals of a TDIFest are to get together with fellow TDI enthusiasts and check out cars, parts and information about our cars and parts then there is no need to be in a resort, or resort location???

I know some in KY were even dressed formally for the banquet/auction and if that is the main thrust of the event then I may have attended my one and only Fest in 2011... I would personally rather spend time checking out cars, and learning stuff about cars than playing dress-up and sitting down to an over-priced meal!!!

If the hotel, meals and activities are more affordable we MAY be able to include and have more TDIClubbers participate in the TDIFest.
 

bhtooefr

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The problem is, in a nutshell, parking.

Let's put it this way... we pulled up a list of EVERY HOTEL IN CHATTANOOGA.

We looked at the prices, and crossed off anything that was too expensive (if I recall correctly, that meant crossing anything off the list that was over $150/night, unless it looked REALLY attractive).

Then we looked at how many rooms they had, and crossed off the ones that didn't have enough.

Then we looked at how many parking spaces they had (which for some was on their website, but some, we actually fired up Google Maps and counted spaces), and crossed off the ones that didn't have enough, or had significantly more rooms than parking (because, remember, Labor Day weekend, if we can't get the whole facility, there has to be enough parking for us AND whoever else is using it).

Keep in mind that we also need some space (not necessarily parking lot space, but if there's no other area...) for the vendors outside, and if one were to go for the BBQ in a tent thing, you'd need space for that, too - so layout's important as well. (A lot of resorts actually DON'T work well for this - and more conventional hotels can work far better - but some larger resorts can work really well. In the Denver area, when I was doing the initial research on it, most of the resorts were way too small, actually.)

One nice thing about resort amenities is that they can attract people to the event that want to bring their whole family - partners and children that are uninterested in TDIs can have something to do.

Also, there's the matter of how the hotel pricing works. I'll let those who are more intimately familiar with how that works discuss that in detail, but essentially, most hotels are making their money on the food (and a minimum amount of food purchased by the event is rolled into the room rate). That's why the at-hotel meals are so expensive. And, almost all of the weekend is about meeting people, learning about these cars, and having fun.

Regarding wifi, yes, this isn't a computer convention, but quite a few things are dependent on it being available, good, and free (and I've been to an actual computer convention where wifi in the rooms wasn't free, and the convention managed to get one DSL line serving the ballrooms - let's just say the ballroom wifi was basically unusable, and the cell carriers whose signal DID make it into the building, their towers went down under the load). Quite a few administrative workflows work much better when there's easy access to the internet - especially on-site registration (because the same online system used to preregister can then be used for on-site registration) and anything requiring payment. Vendors can use the wifi for their own payment processing if they're using Square or similar services, and some vendors that offer tuning require internet access to get their tunes. And, given that this is a community around an internet forum, well, some of us just like to have the bandwidth taps flowing. ;)

As far as the banquet being a formal affair, there are other meals that are informal (yes, ones held at the hotel are expensive, that's just how things go to get the room rates low enough) - the meet and greet, 2011's pig roast (which was AWESOME, and I'd love to see something like that again), and 2012's Kart-2-Kart pizza being great examples - and most of the event is meeting people, learning about TDIs, and having fun. Yes, there's a formal banquet at the end, but it's not all THAT formal (some people take it Very Seriously(tm), yes, but you won't get kicked out for not dressing up), and the auction is a major fundraiser for TDIClub.

That said, more affordable hotels are a good idea, as long as the facility doesn't detract from the event - but, on an inflationary basis, it's been getting cheaper to stay at the host hotel. (No idea what meal prices have done, though.) And, a couple of the resorts vaguely near Chattanooga that we were looking at (plus a state-run "resort", which was rather institutional-looking (but would have been VERY cheap - like, list price $79/night for a hotel room), and turned out to not have enough parking) actually had multiple options - conventional hotel rooms with wifi and all, shared cabins, and camping, to cover several different price points.
 

Chris Tobin

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Chattanooga's downtown is similar to Portland or San Francisco just on a smaller scale with not a lot of parking... But venturing away from downtown which would be much better for the TDIFest offers more land and space and is not near as cramped... I would expect that more than one suitable location can be found, especially when looking closer to the VW factory and further from downtown.

Yup the pig roast was great. If there was a tent and tables/chairs that would be perfect, in fact a tent could be used for the whole event with classes being held there with actual cars on hand rather than a traditional classroom or standing at the side of the hotel by the door as we did in KY for the Engine class...

Like I said, I will be willing to make calls and do work for a Chattanooga TDIFest, but it seems as though it has already been shot down, and that plans are moving forward for Denver.
 

bhtooefr

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Even if the greater Denver area is selected for 2014 (and as far as I know, it hasn't been selected yet), that doesn't mean that research done for a potential 2014 Chattanooga Fest wouldn't be useful for a potential 2015 or later bid, so I'd say looking into it is still good.

So, I just pulled up some of my notes from the Chattanooga research, and the Residence Inn Chattanooga near Hamilton Place did look interesting, albeit it was smallish, and tight on parking - 109 suites (although, being suites, it would be somewhat more amenable to room sharing, which a lot of people do to help with the cost). Between the airport and the VW factory, too. (Everything else that looked suitable was not actually in Chattanooga, although I did remove the downtown Marriott from my notes due to fears that people wouldn't be willing to pay for parking.)
 

bhtooefr

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That's not to say, though, that if it turned out that that was the best facility, that free parking passes couldn't be negotiated...
 

Chris Tobin

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I think downtown is metered parking. I don't spend too much time downtown, but there is a very wide area that is considered Chattanooga and much of it is not the downtown area...
 

bhtooefr

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That facility had a parking garage attached, so I'd think it'd be its own thing?

But, yeah, that's a suboptimal choice for an event like this, if there's something with enough parking that's not in downtown.
 

nicklockard

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TdiFest at at someone's ranch or large property, camping only--is what we need.


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Chris Tobin

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TdiFest at at someone's ranch or large property, camping only--is what we need.


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That would be cool, but I highly doubt the pomp and circumstance bonquet crowd would go for it at all!!!

For magazine coverage, it will need to be a decent size event, definately no smaller than the KY event. My editor is already giving me flack about covering the TN GTG which was much smaller than expected. The events we usually cover in the mag are attended by 1,000s if not 10,000s of people with tons of participation and spectators as well...
 
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IndigoBlueWagon

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The events we usually cover in the mag are attended by 1,000s if not 10,000s of people with tons of participation and spectators as well...
That must make a pretty short list. The biggest VW events I know of are Waterfest and H2O. Don't think either of those are attended by 10,000 people, but I could be wrong.
 

Chris Tobin

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That must make a pretty short list. The biggest VW events I know of are Waterfest and H2O. Don't think either of those are attended by 10,000 people, but I could be wrong.
Yup, we allow it to be smaller for the VW guys, but would still love to see 1000...

The big diesel truck events draw well over 5000 per day and are multi day events. These include TS Performance Outlaw Drags and Sled Pull which is coming up next month on May 17th and 18th in Bowling Green, KY. TDIs are welcome to come out and they can participate in the drags in the Bracket class. The other huge one is the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza held August 23-25th in Terre Haute, IN this one is also good for TDIs in the bracket drag racing class. I went 3 rounds with my Jetta last year at this event.

We cover some smaller events too, but don't like them to be too small. I'd love to see a TDIFest with 500 cars and 1000+ people, but I doubt it will happen...
 

Lug_Nut

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That would be cool, but I highly doubt the pomp and circumstance banquet crowd would go for it at all!!!
I'll tuck the cuffs of my tailored Armani pants into a pair of Bean Maine Hunting Boots, but I'll still wear a suit and tie as my sign of respect to Fred, to the organizers, and to the volunteers that put on the event.
 

Chris Tobin

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I'll tuck the cuffs of my tailored Armani pants into a pair of Bean Maine Hunting Boots, but I'll still wear a suit and tie as my sign of respect to Fred, to the organizers, and to the volunteers that put on the event.

I guess my wife and I were disrespectful in Kentucky then, since we wore the same clothes we wore all day while we were there covering the event for Diesel World magazine...

To me dressing up at a car event seems more pretentious than anything else, but to each their own...
 
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