If there was one phrase to sum up my experience at Tuner Evolution Chicago, it would be "culture shock." I've been doing the car show thing for a long time now, from attending as a spectator to competing, and even organizing a national show tour; TE was its own experience. TE seems more about the culture than the cars. Sure, there are some nice builds on display, but there is a lot going on other than just a straightforward show. There was a breakdancing contest, a hip-hop performance, and even some stuff going on outside as well. There's definitely A LOT going on, but for the younger generation that makes up a huge part of today's scene, that's exactly what's needed.
Situated in Schaumburg, Illinois, about 45-minutes from downtown Chicago (which was a nice change from the typical downtown show venues), the Schaumburg Convention Center provided both indoor and outdoor space for the event. Luckily, the weather worked out in TE's favor, and there was nothing but sunny, blue skies for the day so show-goers could enjoy the event in its entirety. Inside, the center was packed with vendors and show cars, as well as a big center stage where the majority of the other attractions took place. The crowds of spectators proved that TE's recipe was a success, as the rows inside were bustling all day with people, and the crowds continued when you stepped outside to the outdoor show area. I'm not going to lie, there were times it was hard to shoot photos inside because of how crowded it was, which is not a bad problem to have if you're a show organizer. The breakdancing competition and hip-hop concert helped draw people to the main stage later in the day, which freed up the space a little bit so I could run around and shoot.
TE is a unique experience, and quite different from your typical car show. They still attracted some top cars, but a lot of what made up the show was definitely trendy to appeal to the younger generation, which is just fine. It seems TE is about sharing the automotive culture as a whole rather, than just the automotive side to it. If you have a chance to go to one in your area, I definitely recommend it. It'll definitely be an experience.