Is it a sign of the times, a sign of the apocalypse, or both? No matter what way you see it, Harley-Davidson has just announced a new motorcycle show that will run entirely online. It’s called The No Show, and it’s running through June 21 on Harley-Davidson’s Instagram channel.
Here’s what you can expect, according to Harley-Davidson’s press release:
“The No Show features 60 builders from 10 countries, with half of those builders coming from the postponed Mama Tried, Congregation Vintage Bike & Car, and Born-Free motorcycle shows. Those who visit The No Show can scroll through the array of bikes and tap into their favorites where they’ll see a personal video of each builder walking them through his or her masterpiece (bikes will be rolled out in batches every day for five days). Dotted throughout the bikes will be all the nuts and bolts of every motorcycle show—music, merch, and awards.”
So, you log onto Instagram, go to Harley-Davidson’s official channel, and all the custom bikes are displayed there on your screen, released in batches of a few bikes at a time. It’s a very different arrangement from the usual custom show scene, but at least you won’t be stuck buying overpriced greasy pizza for $8 a slice after waiting in line at the food counter for 10 minutes. However, there is a virtual merchandise booth, where you can buy The No Show t-shirts. They’re not cheap, at $25 US apiece, but all the proceeds from the shirt sales go directly to the custom bike builders featured in the show.
Like any good moto show, The No Show will have a series of awards at the end of the show. There’s a Media Choice Award, chosen and presented by journos. There’s also the H-D Styling & Design Award, chosen and presented by Harley-Davidson’s VP of Styling and Design, Brad Richards. And, there’s a Harley-Davidson Museum Award, which is chosen by the museum’s staff and presented by Bill Davidson, VP of the museum and great-grandson of MoCo co-founder William A. Davidson.
There’s also music to go with the show, from The White Buffalo, Hollis Brown and the Kenneth Brian Band.
This is a bold new frontier for the motorcycle industry, not just Harley-Davidson. While manufacturers have run virtual moto-events in the past, they’ve typically been tied somehow to an existing big-name show—say, a pre-EICMA model reveal. This online Harley-Davidson event is a new formula, and no doubt a harbinger of things to come from the entire industry, as fears over COVID-19 and general budget-slashing make expensive trade shows less worthwhile.