The top car festivals

One thing that brings people from all over the world together is their love of cars and that is why auto shows attract millions of motor heads from across the planet every year.

Car shows are an opportunity for the public to see new technologies and new cars that will be showcased in car dealerships in Dorset, across the UK and the rest of the world in the near future. A car show also gives manufacturers the chance to test out concept cars and other ideas to see how potential customers react.

This is why they are so popular and why there are thousands of car shows and festivals, from classic car shows to performance car shows.

If you love cars and are not sure what the best car shows and festivals are, then read on to find out the best in Britain and the top shows across the rest of the world.

The world’s top car shows

Chicago Auto Show

The Chicago Auto Show is now the biggest auto show in the US after overtaking the North American Auto Show in Detroit in terms of attendance and scope.

First staged in 1901, the 2017 Chicago Auto Show will be the 109th edition and visitors will get to see the release of new concept cars, experimental cars and other vehicles that are set to be released later in the year.

Held at the McCormick Place complex in Chicago, last year’s exhibition saw around 1,000 different vehicles displayed as well as new accessories, technologies, competition vehicles, classic cars and other collector cars.

Dates of show: 9-10 Feb 2017 (Media Preview), 10 Feb 2017 (First Look for Charity), 11-20 Feb 2017 (Public show).

Chicago Auto Show

Geneva International Motor Show

The Geneva International Motor Show is not just where hundreds of thousands of auto buffs go, but is where all the large car manufacturers show off their latest designs.

The show plays host to debuts of new production and concept models and the 86th Geneva International Motor Show will see more than 120 World and European premiers.

This year’s show attracted 200 exhibitors from 30 countries, between 650,000 and 700,000 visitors, and approximately 11,000 media representatives, which makes it the most important show in Switzerland and one of the biggest auto shows in the world.

Dates of show: 3-13 March 2016, 9-19 March 2017.

Geneva International Motor Show

Frankfurt Motor Show

Many regard the Frankfurt Motor Show as the king of auto shows in terms of its size and significance to the industry.

Held every two years on rotation with the Paris Motor Show, the Frankfurt Motor Show is held at the Messe exhibition centre in Frankfurt and sees all the top car manufacturers straining to outdo each other with lavish exhibitions that display their latest concept cars.

The show dates back to the late 1800s and despite humble beginnings the show is now the biggest car show on the planet.

Dates of show: 14-24 September 2017

Frankfurt Motor Show

Woodward Dream Cruise

In August 1995 the Woodward Dream Cruise show was born and now it is the world’s largest one-day automotive event, attracting around 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars every year.

The annual show, which is held on the third Saturday of August, is a car lover’s paradise with hot rods, muscle cars and more on show on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

The car cruise begins one mile north of Detroit in Ferndale and heads to Pontaic, which in total is around 10 miles each way. The cars are the main event, but there are bands and other entertainment on offer to visitors as well.

Dates of show: 20 August 2016, 9am-9pm.

Woodward Dream Cruise

The best car shows in Britain

Performance Car Show

The Performance Car Show is in association with Autocar and and runs alongside Europe’s premier pre-season motorsport show, Autosport International, every January at the Birmingham NEC.

The Performance Car Show is the UK’s leading exhibition for sports and performance cars as it brings together the world’s most desirable performance machinery, with everything from popular hot hatches right through to powerful and exclusive hyper cars for fans to enjoy up-close.

The 2016 show showcased the evolution of the hot hatch and featured a model from every decade, including the world’s first Simca 1100 TI and the third-generation Ford Focus RS, a car that is sold in Ford dealers in Hampshire and the UK.

Dates of show: 12-15 January 2017

Performance Car Show

Simply Ford

Simply Ford is one of the biggest and most popular Simply rallies in Beaulieu’s events calendar with more than 1,000 Ford cars expected to join the display at the National Motor Museum.

The show attracts people of all ages and shows off all types of Ford vehicles, from Mondeos, Fiestas and Transits, through to much-loved classics such as the Cortina, Zodiac and Anglia.

The 2016 show will welcome back the Electric Orange ST Club and its brightly coloured display of high-performance Focuses as well as West Country Fords, the Wiltshire Classic Ford Club and the Ford Probe Owners Club.

Tickets for the event cost £10 for adults and £5 for children.

Dates of show: 1 May 2016

Simply Ford


The FordMeet at Squires is another Ford show that is a must-visit for lovers of everything Ford.

The multi-club Ford Show is run by FordMeet Car Club and is open to all Ford-based clubs across the UK.

The show welcomes traders, who often have on-the-day offers and promotions, as well as commonly welcoming over 1,000 cars.

The 2016 event will see added children’s entertainment, camping, an exhibition celebrating 40 years of the RS2000 and even a disco for visitors to enjoy.

Dates of show: 3 April 2016

Goodwood Festival of Speed

The biggest festival in the UK is the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which is held annually in West Sussex.

The festival regularly attracts more than 100,000 visitors on each day of the festival as crowds gather to see a range of events in the grounds of the Goodwood estate.

One of the main attractions of the festival is the Hillclimb, which takes place throughout the event on a white-knuckled 1.16-mile course. Every day 300 cars and motorcycles sprint their way up the iconic Hillclimb in the fastest time possible. The fastest time ever recorded was 41.6 seconds, set by Nick Heidfeld in the McLaren MP4-13 in 1999, and you can see his lap below.

The festival combines F1 cars, supercars and motorbikes to great effect as well as attracting freestyle motocross, trials, BMX and mountain bikes as riders show off their skills to amazed crowds.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is the UK’s most iconic automotive festival and is therefore a must-visit for car and motorbike enthusiasts alike.

Dates of show: 23-26 June 2016

Goodwood Festival of Speed

Fitted UK

Fitted UK is back in 2016 for its third year and will this year be held at EventCity in Manchester.

Fitted UK is now one of the largest indoor car shows in the UK and visitors will get to see and touch some of the best cars in Europe.

There will be 1,200 of the best cars, supercars and motorbikes that Europe has to offer and over 40 trade and sponsor stands will be at the event selling automotive merchandise and products.

There will be a huge selection of food for visitors at the show as well as live music, stunt shows and live demos and builds from the UK’s biggest automotive companies.

Dates of show: 31 July 2016

Fitted UK

Image Credit: Chicago Auto Show, PhotoproEvent  D Keller, Geneva International Motor Show, AutovivaPardee Ave, Performance Car Show, Simply Ford, Paul Austin.

This content was written by James Dart. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.