Having been part of the Legends Of The 90’s team since its inception in 2015, you’ve likely seen my features of our 90’s nostalgic meet here over the past couple of years. Following our recently concluded year-ender meet for 2018, the number of participants have exponentially grown since that first get-together at the Turf BGC Carpark three years ago. With the growing number of attendees however comes a new set of challenges in terms of logistics, and as organizers we’ve had to do a lot behind the scenes to keep things going smoothly for all to enjoy. As such, allow me to talk you through the real workings behind running a large car meet.

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

Securing the Venue

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Common sense dictates that a car meet wouldn’t be a car meet without an open carpark to place all the cars in. Seeing that nobody in our team is affluent enough to own such spaces, we have to go around and scout for areas that would be conducive for staging an event. Lately we’ve always had to check for parking capacity since our  recent events have had around 200 vehicles in attendance. While small meets can do with any carpark, Legends Of The 90s has blown up more than we’ve expected. A good thing I suppose, but it definitely comes with more responsibilities. 

Aside from parking capacity, things like the vibe and aesthetics of the venue have to be considered as well – we all want great photos and material to come out after the event afterall. During our oculars we already plan for things like vehicle segregation and positioning, where to place the main booth and the DJs to play their music, where to line and connect the wires for all the electronics, and even the flow of traffic coming into the lot. In the case of our recently concluded meet at Circuit Ayala Malls, we wanted to enact a basement carpark vibe similar to that of Akihabara UDX in Tokyo. The venue came complete with full flourescent lighting for great photos as well as properly spaced slots so cars can be comfortable in their own spaces. All small details, but it goes a long way towards having everyone enjoy the meet on the day itself.

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

Once we’ve found a venue, it’s not as simple as calling everyone there and having our way with the area. Again, with over 200 cars and perhaps double or triple that in terms of foot traffic, Legends Of The 90s is no longer a small get-together. Permission from administration or from any governing body over the venue needs to be secured, and we have to present ourselves properly to pitch the event. That said we would inquire and discuss what we want to happen with venue administration, complete with a powerpoint presentation, photos, and short clips of what usually happens during a meet.

After all is said and done, we’ll usually secure a permit and fulfill other requirements needed by the venue and the place is good to go.

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

Online Applications

One thing Legends Of The 90s has become known for is the requirement of applying and sending your vehicle specs to our Facebook page before you’re invited to participate. Since the beginning, Legends has been and always will be an invite-only event. We genuinely want to see quality builds turn up at the meet, so having a stereotypical, mediocre build or a stock 90’s vehicle will not suffice. Our online application system allows organizers to filter through the many, MANY builds and owners to see if they meet the standards we expect from a tastefully modified 90’s-era vehicle. Going through these applications takes time and a fair amount of deliberation from us organizers – time that can be used for work and family. We usually prioritize our lives before going through the lot, meaning you’ll have to be patient with our deliberation once you’ve sent in an application.

Once accepted, you will be provided with a unique QR code that can only be valid with the driver and vehicle specified in the code. We’ve created a database of drivers and vehicles to make sure attendees will have an ID for future events. These codes have to be presented at the entrance of every meet, and we enforce a strict ‘No QR, no entry’ policy.

Behind the 90's Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

‘My vehicle was not accepted, what do I do?

The short answer: Go back to the drawing board. The reason why we only organize Legends Of The 90s twice a year is to give people the time they need to continue and perfect their builds. We want to see quality and tastefully modified cars at our events, and organizing them is no joke especially to us organizers. Take your time to perfect your build and try again once the applications open. We’ve seen instances where we declined a car a year prior – only to apply again and steal the show at the next meet. Trust us, that’s happened already so it’s not impossible.

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

On the Day Itself

For the most part, organizers have a field day during the meet. I for one am busy running around asking participants to park at certain places around the lot. When cars are positioned a certain way, it gives everyone a good opportunity to bask in the greatness of all automobiles present. With everything sorted, people can easily pick their poison and enjoy the cars they want to see. 

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

One of our other organizers Ryan Isana is in charge of inspecting QR codes at the entrance of every meet. Unfortunately a failed fuel pump issue right outside the venue meant he had to attend to his Toyota Celica first. That meant I had to run double duty this time around, but normally he’ll be the one bouncing you off if you don’t follow the rules.

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

Marco Palinar on the other hand usually handles the Legends Of The 90s merchandise that drops during meets. With plenty of orders placed beforehand, he usually has his hands full during the day itself.

Our last founding member Robert Tan is usually behind the scenes since he sold his AE111 Corolla and no longer has a 90’s car to join, but he continues to support by providing logistics and prizes for the meet.

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

Entertainment and Spiels

Beyond the rare and quality machinery, we give Legends Of The 90s more depth by providing an immersive experience akin to going back in time. To truly give people the taste of going back two decades, we set the mood with period-correct music played by DJs with period-correct materials. Yes folks, our DJs spin real turntables instead of digital ones, and the music helps keep the spirits up as the cars roll in. 

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

Our usual partner to pull this off is Red Bull’s DJ truck, but for this particular meet they were unavailable so we’ve had to improvise. Thankfully our resident DJ Joey Señeres had a proper sound setup that can be connected to a power outlet and keep the music going.

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet 

Apart from the music, we’ve also organized a scale model competition wherein contestants have to copy a car that is present at the meet. Seeing as scale models take time and a certain level of expertise to build, we’ve partnered up with local scale modelers to host and judge the competition. And to give further accuracy to the builds, we’ve also partnered the builders with the corresponding vehicle owners to exchange information about the vehicle.

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

Sponsors and Prizes

Despite Legends Of The 90s being inherently a car meet, we want to recognize those that have put in herculean effort into preserving a rare platform or building their vehicles to a high caliber. Thankfully we have several friends in the industry who are just as much on board, and they’re willing to share their products as prizes for these individuals. For the most part, prizes are usually either cleaning products, GCs for services, or the odd 90’s cassette tape from the coffers of our esteemed titos in the scene.

Behind the 90’s Nostalgia: The inner workings of a car meet

For what it has grown into, our goal as organizers of the Legends Of The 90s is to ultimately see all the cars we’ve admired growing up all in the same place at the same time. For us, and thankfully for a large number of attendees, this is a mutual goal that continues to be met with much enthusiasm. For as long as we can keep our neo-classics running, trust that Legends Of The 90s is here to remain a staple of local Filipino car culture.