4Play at Odyssey Arena

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Six months of planning finally came together on the 29th September at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast. Sound In Motion and Schism Music Group had been meticulously planning the events since Easter, and it was a steep learning curve for the team as neither of them had ever undertaken such a enormous task before.

<b>Behind the Scenes</b>

To give an insight as to what was involved, it started with trying to come up with a core of exhibitors that you the public wanted to see. The initial group was decided as Carisma, Peugeot Ecosse, Dubsport and Audioworld with their 170dB+ monster Golf. We then decided that we need a magazine involved, and we narrowed the selection down to Redline, an up and coming UK publication. With them on board, it all started to pick up pace. Cutting the build up short, we had the Arena planned to AutoCAD precision, the Top 50 cars getting into the building were selected, and all the exhibitors in place.

<b>On the day</b>

We started at 5:00 am to load cars and exhibitors into the arena and the next thing I remember was looking at all the faces squeezed like lemons against the glass at the entrance. It was reminiscent of goldfish in a bowl! The build up of vehicles at the rear loading area held up the doors opening as the safety officials were concerned for fire exits, but with them cleared, we opened up at 12:30. The orgasmic surge occurred at once and in the fury to get the public in the VIP lanes became overwhelmed completely.

Within one hour we had 2000 people through the doors. The arena was packed – the music was pumping – the lights were flashing and all was under way for a big show. Redline had their two current demo cars; the Honda Civic ,the BMW 3 Series with Cosworth engine, and their current cover car a Vauxhall Corsa with Carisma interior. Carisma was there with the infamous Renault 5 that has been an outstanding vehicle in the styling and tuning stakes for over 3 years, but this was it’s first Irish appearance. Dubsport are the UK’s premier Volkswagen tuning specialists with three of the craziest VWs seen in Ireland also; a Golf 3 with two VR6 turbocharged engines, a Golf 2 with a four wheel drive 440hp 1.8 turbo engine and a Lupo with a VR6 engine – tuned to the extreme! Peugeot Ecosse, with a Gallic flair for redesigning France’s latest cars, arrived from Scotland with five of the most gorgeous Peugeots to be ogled at. Unfortunately both Audioworld and Carisma’s TVR could not make it to the show due to other international commitments.

Without many people inside, it looked as if it was going to be a good show, but once the crowds arrived it was plain to see that the aisle ways around the outside of the arena were too small to view the cars on show properly. Walking around the outer oval area where the Top50 cars were packed, we saw many of Ireland’s best modified cars, and they were competing to be Ireland’s Best Modified Car. The Judging of these cars was done by Jamie Shaw or Carisma, Shane O’Boyle and Andrew Simpson of Sound In Motion, and Jay Briton a freelance journalist from the UK. The Irish Auto Sound Challenge Association (IASCA) were having both a Sound Quality (SQ) and a Sound Pressure Level (SPL) competition at the east end of the arena. These guys compete to either have the best installed and sounding cars or the loudest cars on the day. The 4play show was also the culmination of a years competing, and so the day included the finals of both formats.

Getting to their stand after seeing Dubsport, it was hard to miss the monstrous Kicker demo truck situated almost right at the centre of the carpet. Gleaming, and with more ICE than anyone could possibly lust for, it was an awesome mix of style and stereo. Near enough to this there were various other stands including Performance Subaru with a electrifying Impreza Sti including loads of Prodrive parts and a throbbing sound system installed by Sound In Motion. This, along with a V6 Astra Van with NOS, helped to make up for the missing TVR. It seems the TVR was booked by Meiguars Polish to be at the Sema show in the States, and since it takes 6 weeks to ship and clear customs, it was too tight a timetable for the TVR to make it to Belfast.

Entertainment for the day focused on the ‘Playpen’ stage area, where DJs and dancers kept the crowd amused. The dancers moved their bodies to music produced by K Dogg from Dublin and Richie Don (<a href=”//www.truegarage.com” target=”_blank”>www.truegarage.com</a>) from the UK. These guys are very good DJs moving through the ranks of the clubs – keep your eyes on these boys. Various competitions and giveaways went on , but the highlight of the entertainment was the game of twister that happened at the end of the day – it just got a bit risky!

<b>In Hindsight</b>

While the show itself was well organised for a first attempt, and the cars there were stunning and got into the hall through proper heats, it was a learning experience for the organisers. Space was a little tight, and certain areas had a fair bit of extra room that could have easily fitted another car or two, and reduced the sardine effect. A few cars could have also been displayed in the entrance foyer, again reducing the amount in the main hall, but I’m sure the organisers will also have realised this and that next time there wont be as many cars in the main hall. When the crowds flooded in it made navigation a bit harder and a few people I met told me that they couldn’t see half the cars because of the amount of bodies about, shame really as there were loads of really well modified cars on show. The quality of the cars, the women, the stands, the organisation, were all on a different level to other shows that had come before and I firmly believe that the stakes have been upped considerably for the next big show. We have arranged a date with the Odyssey Arena for next years event, and we hope that all the mistakes made with this years show will be overcome for the next one.

Thanks to the trade exhibitors who were at 4play:

– Tyre Safety Centre
– JK Autospares
– The Iceman
– Meguiars
– Carisma
– Kicker
– Johnston Gilpin
– Fusion
– Krazy Karting
– Redline
– CTC Autofashion
– Sound In Motion
– Genisis
– Audio Advice
– Performance Subaru
– Chequered Flag
– Halfords / Ripspeed
– Flushbus
– Modified Motors
– Dubsport
– Peugeot Ecosse
– Speed Camera Defense
– TT Trading
– Modern Tyre Service
– Cookstown Tyre Centre

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