#4 - Mason Gavin & Riverside Chattanooga
Chattanooga, TN - Since 2016, Chattanooga, Tennessee has played host to one of the top car shows in the southeast - Riverside Chattanooga. The annual spring meet brings out unique builds from across the country, ranging from JDM and European imports, to classic American muscle and historical vehicles.
On April 2nd, 2022, the event returned for its seventh iteration. We had the chance to speak with Mason Gavin, owner and event organizer for Riverside, to learn more about his love for cars, what it takes to put on such a show, plans for the future, and more.
“My first car meet was actually here in Chattanooga,” Gavin recalled. “I think I was maybe 15 or 16 at the time.”
Gavin, 32 of Chattanooga, first became interested in cars by going to local events with his friends as a teen. After attending Import Alliance, the United States largest import meet, in 2009, his love for the car scene took off.
Eventually, he began working in the music industry, where he learned how to organize and put on live shows. Inspired by the car shows he was going to at the time, combined with his knowledge for hosting events, he decided to plan something of his own.
“Riverside started because I really enjoyed going to car shows at a young age,” Gavin said. “I already had this event organizer mindset, so going to car shows, I wanted to implement that into my life somehow.”
His idea came to life in 2016 with the first ever Riverside Chattanooga Spring Meet. The event has returned every year since, bringing in thousands of spectators and hundreds of jaw-dropping automobiles.
One of the things Gavin credits to the event’s success is its location, First Horizon Pavilion. At over 50,000 square feet, this covered open-air pavilion in the heart of downtown makes for the perfect setting in terms of accessibility and appearance.
What makes Riverside stand out from other car shows is not only its location, but also its inclusivity and attention to detail for everyone involved in the show, such as registered vehicles and vendors.
“We want to provide something different, ” stated Gavin. “I want every vehicle to be set up to look great for photographs or videos. Also, we spend a lot of time making sure our vendors are taken care of, and set up well, and they like how the shows run. We want to make sure that everybody that’s here can succeed and have a good time.”
This year's event featured 40 vendors and food trucks, including the addition of the Simply Clean Expo, a streetwear boutique based out of Orlando, Florida. This gave spectators the option to not only browse cars throughout the day, but also clothing, shoes, and collectibles.
As the organizer for the event, Gavin’s role is key, however he knows without the people around him, putting on Riverside Chattanooga wouldn’t be possible.
“I’ve got about 20 staff members who are all killers, they do excellent work,” he said, speaking highly of his team. “They’re passionate about this, which allows me to really focus on the vision of Riverside and every little detail.”
For Gavin, his vision of Riverside has continued to grow throughout the years, and still does to this day. While discussing goals for the future, he revealed to us in the following years he plans to move and expand his brand, starting with Riverside Northwest - a two day car meet and drift event that would take place in addition to the annual Chattanooga meet.
The real goal for Riverside, however, is to provide the same things car meets provided Mason with while growing up - an unforgettable experience filled with making memories alongside your family and friends.
“Our motto is ‘Come for the cars, stay for the people’, and I try to live by that,” Gavin said honestly. “I want to provide a great place for people to come and create memories with their friends. Come out for the show, check out some things, buy from the vendors, bring your car or truck, show it off, and have fun - but we’re all here so we can spend time together.”
For more information on Riverside Chattanooga, visit their website at https://www.riversidechattanooga.com/ or their instagram: @riversidechattanooga