IndyCar races, like other major sporting events, have become entire weekend festivals, featuring racing, plus games, fan expos and big-name musical performances. While the racing was awesome, the musical highlight at this year's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was a rocking show by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, the Tecate Light Rock n Roar Concert, presented by KLOS . The show was free to all race ticket-holders and was the Grand Prix's closing event on Saturday, the day before the actual IndyCar race. I went to the race and the concert and it really was a perfect end to a fun day of racing.
I think major sports events like IndyCar races must provide a total experience to fans, not just a car race or single game. The idea of these associated concerts and other activities is to not only provide extra value to fans who bought tickets to the race, but also to expose IndyCar racing and motorsports in general to a wider audience. People who may come for the festival, food, fun and music, sometimes more so than the race. But while there, they get a taste of the excitement surrounding an IndyCar Grand Prix weekend and become new fans of the sport.
After spending the day at the track, the Joan Jett and The Blackhearts show was a perfect end to the day. She really rocked it, and had the whole crowd rocking and singing along with her. The crowd from the race was a mix of people and included a lot of families. It was fun to see so many little kids dancing and rocking out along with their parents. Joan Jett was the perfect artist to perform as the kids love her music, but so do teenagers and adults. It was also great because she has a lot of anthem songs, like "I Love Rock and Roll" where everyone knows the words and can sing along. The show was produced by Mitch Davis and The Artist Partnership , in association with The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.
The Formula 1 world also does the same thing, featuring music performances and entire music festivals connected to Formula 1 Grand Prix races. Last year, I wrote about big stars like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Paul McCartney performing at Formula 1 race events (Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Paul McCartney to perform at Formula 1 races ) and more shows are planned with the F1 2012 calendar.
There was another Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach concert Friday night, by the Mexican pop band Belanova, also free for race ticket-holders. This was also a great choice for race fans as it was aimed at the race's (and the area's) large Spanish-speaking population. A Southern California rain and wind storm swept the area that day and threatened the outdoor show, but the concert organizers acted quickly and moved the event inside to the adjacent theater and everyone had a great time.
A lifetime auto racing fan, Freddy Sherman collects vintage muscle cars and attends races and rally events in the U.S. and around the world. You can follow him on Twitter - @thefredsherman
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