Summernats, a weekend long car show attracting thousands of attendee’s in Australia’s capital city, Canberra, celebrated it’s 30th anniversary this year in January. I was fortunate enough to be invited by my brother who has attended the previous three years as an entrant in the burnout series competition.

In the planning stages of this project, the subculture surrounding the festival grabbed my attention and I thought that this would be an opportunity to document a slice of Australia I had never had contact with nor had been properly documented, apart from the average summary on the nightly news.

It started to become apparent, that in previous years, specific areas of the festival would become quite rowdy. Tuff Street, a main strip on the cruising circuit inside the festival eventually would become so wild on the final Saturday night that I felt I trapped in an apocalyptic sub consciousness, walking away wondering what had I actually just witnessed.

Hordes of topless, sunburnt, drunken males, young and old, line along the concrete barriers on either side of Tuff St, with their warm premixed rum and coke in one hand and mobile phone in the other would be rampantly chanting ‘tit’s or rubber! One or the other”. 

Eventually, Spilling onto the road, trying to egg on drivers to smoke up their tires on the tight road, “black top, black top, black top’ is the crowds chant to get everyone’s attention, identifying their victims, hundreds of men would end up chanting.

Some Individuals would come prepared, carry their homemade sign’s requesting females to ‘get ya tits out’, some would buy merchandise from the festival with similar misogynistic quotes. As the evening progressed and the sun was slowely setting, the groups surrounding females in the crowd became masses, some women succumbing to the their demands, some embracing it and others appearing extremely distressed. 

As women lift their tops, hordes of men would flock upon their victims, groping them, cheering, screaming or celebrating their victory with a shoey.

I must say that this behavior is not reflective of the entirety of the festival, I witnessed great comradery amongst the group of people I was staying with and met some amazing individual’s. This series does not reflect upon Australia’s entire car culture in anyway. Unfortunately, I what I have documented, shows a disgusting entitlement entrenched within Summernats festival that leads people to believe that this behavior is acceptable within the festival’s boundaries.

Unfortunately, what I have documented is in fact, a raw and truthful representation of a slice of Australian motor culture. More alarmingly, this behaviour and activity is also a major draw card for many people who attend the Summernats car show and is somewhat capitalised on by the event management. My aim was always to accurately portray the scenes, which organically unfolded in front of me. Now, I can only hope that the public will interpret and act accordingly to address an issue, which has gone somewhat ignored amongst our society. 

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