Back in 1995, we had a brief conversation with the fantastic, ebullient Brendan Canty of Fugazi. We asked him, "So where're you playing tomorrow night?"
"What's it like? I've never been."
"Imagine Sacramento, but smaller and without any semblance of culture."
"Oh, so it's basically hell, then?"
Though our pals in the sadly-defunct Jawbreaker once celebrated the ingenuity of the DIY types in Bakersfield who threw a disco party after a punk rock show, and you can't front on Merle Haggard or Buck Owens, it's a depressing, flat expanse of oil derricks, strip malls and San Joaquin smog.
Which somehow makes it an absolutely fucking perfect location for one of the best automotive events ever conceived: The NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion. Famoso Raceway seems much as it did back in the halcyon days of the Smokers' Meet, when guys like Pat Foster, Don Prudhomme and Tommy Ivo, as well as the inimitable and inscrutable Surfers crew, would show up and put on a show like nothing ever seen. There's an undeniable magic to Famoso; a rare gem in a faceless expanse that runs from the Cascades to the Tehachapis. And having classic lakes racers, from-in-the-time Fuelers and a passel of some of the flat-out coolest rods one's ever seen on the grounds while wheelstanders make exhibition runs down the strip under the for-once-romantic Bakersfield smog makes for a must-have experience for anyone remotely interested in hot rods or drag racing. This year's celebration runs from September 30th through October 2nd. Be there. Seriously.
14th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion [Rod and Custom]
Car Shows We Love: Hot Summer Nights [Internal]