The debate over Saturday’s 2fast car tribute on the Espalade has been fascinating to follow.
The event prompted a huge turn out of car buffs, and gridlocked the road as they remembered Paul Walker, the Hollywood actor who died last week.
Forty eight hours on and the debate is still raging.
It is clear it sparked two very different points of view.
Those who attended hailed it a great success and a fantastic event.
Those who had to put up with the noise and disruption were less than impressed.
So let’s rewind.
The Esplanade has been home to car buffs for as long as I have stayed here.
They meet monthly and happily hang out in the car parks at dead of night beside their pride and joy vehicles. Each to their own ...
It used to be a haunt of those irritating and frankly often anti-social boy racers who treated the road like a race track and showed zero respect for anyone who lived in the area.
Now here comes the really big, important caveat.
Boy racers can be a catch-all term to describe anyone who hangs around the Esplanade after dark - and it is a term that irritates, if not offends, the true car buffs/ performance enthusiasts.
It’s fair to say the boy racers have been successfully dealt with round here - it took a while, but the weekends no longer revereberate to the sound of engines being revved to the max. They haven’t been missed.
The folk behind the 2fast tribute have been meeting monthly ever since without so much as a noisy indictator being flicked in anger.
The idea behind staging a major event in honour of the late actor, whose 2fast films celebrated their culture, grew out of social media.
And much like sticking an invite to a house party on Facebook, the numbers spiralled quite dramatically without the organisation in place to really cope. I guess it’s been a sharp learning curve for all concerned ...
True it passed off without any major problems - many people spoke of the buzz it created, the spectacle and noise, and insisted it was worth the disruption and the noise which annoyed many local residents.
In the immediate aftermath and with the buzz of adrenalin still ringing as loudly as the horns sounded in memory of the actor, there has been much excited talk of making it an annual event.
The event clearly showed there is a large peformance car community which is willing to travel to Kirkcaldy to be part of such an event - so where do we go from here?
If - and I’ll stress the ‘if’ - the Esplanade is identified as the best AND most suitable location for a ‘‘2Fast2014’ then the organisers have to move away from the ‘‘hey we’re having a party’’approach on Facebook and get, well, organised.
A day-long event with the Esplanade filled with impressive looking customised cars would have huge widespread appeal, and could bring many, many people to town. I get that much more than I got the horn-blaring tributes to the actor whose films have made zero impact on me or, clearly, Fife Police who inadvertently referred to a ‘‘tribute to Paul Hollywood’ the host of the Great British Bake-Off (which led to the tweet of the night from @georgeharley ‘‘Cheers @FifePolice! I turned up with a sponge cake, only to ridiculed by folk in souped up Vauxhall Novas!’’)
To turn this from a one-off to an inclusive event with huge benefits to the town means doing all the boring stuff like submitting applications to get roads closed, and working with transportation, the police and others to ensure it is well organised and properly marshalled, and producing clear evidence of the economoic benefits it can deliver.
Yup, it sounds all very fuddy-duddy when compared with the usual Saturday night hang out by Facebook invitation, but that work is absolutely vital if this is to be built upon and established as a genuine, reputable, annual event.
They will need to convince local folk the location is right, and part of winning that argument is at least acknowledging the noise impacts on residents - our town centre is home to many, many people, and they have a right to to be heard above the din.
Do all that, and an off-the-cuff social media phenomenon could become something very positive, and I say that as someone who was not impressed with the noise on the night or the disruption caused - and I stand by that view. If it’s OK for one group to parade their cars up and down the Espalande, what then stops me from staging a giant shopping trolley race for 1000 people in tribute to the bloke who invented the carts that always go sideways? Hey, we could go from Lidl to Morrisons and back again!
Okay I’m being flippant, but the point behind it is serious. No-one can simply issue invites and then clog up a major road in town just because they want to. Life doesn’t work like that.
The rules and regulations exist to protect organisers as much as the folk who stay locally and those who take part.
So, if there is a serious desire to stage 2fast2014 let’s get the key folk round the table and plan something that will blow the socks off everyone and make a really big noise for Kirkcaldy.
Over to you ...