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SEMA Heads Full Throttle Into the Consumer Market with SEMA Fest

photo of two cars racing in the streets

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. — The worlds of motorsports, music and car culture are converging for a Las Vegas auto show this week with the debut of SEMA Fest. Part music festival, part automotive playground, the two-day trade show Nov. 3-4 at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds along the Las Vegas Strip, spotlights some of the industry’s most iconic brands. 

The trade show is the first foray for SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association), which produces the annual SEMA Show, into the consumer event sphere. “We saw changes in the marketplace in the way businesses interacted with the consumer, so we created a consumer membership to make that connection even more valuable and to open our industry to everyone,” Tom Gattuso, SEMA Vice President of Events, said. “Once we developed that relationship, we wanted to create an event so they could connect in B2C in the same way they connected in B2B.”

There will be 22 musical acts on two stages, including Imagine Dragons, Incubus, Wiz Khalifa, AJR, Third Eye Blind, and Bush, as well as motorsports entertainment such as demonstrations from Formula Drift, Hoonigan and Nitro Circus. Nitro Circus will add to the high-adrenaline action over the two days with its Freestyle Motocross (FMX) and Bicycle Motocross (BMX) Big Air show featuring stunts and tricks that push riders to their limits.  

Other SEMA Fest highlights will include Ride with Us, a learn-to-ride motorcycle experience; a consumer marketplace with vendors and craft food, among other highlights; and an e-gaming experience and competition by NACL.

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SEMA Fest is kicking off the same day that the SEMA Show held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Oct. 31-Nov. 3, winds down.

“We are excited to be able to have the three elements of our marketplace gathered together this week — manufacturing, distribution and end user,” Gattuso said. “We have combined the passion of automotive with the passion of music and created an iconic event that will be well received for years to come.”

The buildup to producing SEMA Fest began more than a decade ago. In 2011 SEMA introduced SEMA Cruise, which evolved in 2014 into SEMA Ignited, the official Friday night after-party for the SEMA Show.

“Fundamentally, the music festival production is similar to that of a trade show,” Gattuso explained. “There are significant differences, and that learning curve was steep, but we ended up with a great lineup of automotive and music performances and are excited to see it received by the crowds. Our fanbase, as well as our loyal B2B membership base, has received the event extremely well and we’re looking forward to a fantastic celebration of the automotive lifestyle.”

Reach Tom Gattuso at

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