In the back of my mind, I always knew it was only a matter of time. For the past 3 years we’ve been running the Greasebag Jamboree during Laconia under the radar. It’s always been a grass roots thing that we’ve organized as tightly as possible while making sure it didn’t get so regulated that it would lose it’s sense of identity. The greasebag was never meant to be some big rock star bike event – it was raw, rough around the edges and a flat out good time. Every year it got better – better bikes, more people hanging out talking shop – something the home builder could look forward to in a sea of leather chaps and chrome doodads. Last year’s greasebag killed it, everyone had a blast, so many cool bikes and the biggest crowd so far. It should come as no surprise that the town of Laconia now wants to stick the finger into the pot. We did our best to stay under the radar, but as it’s popularity grew, so did the attention. It’s pointless to get into all the specifics, but here’s the basics

The city of Laconia wants us to get permits for everything – vendors, food, ect…, they want us to hire cops to be at the show… they want to regulate and they want their piece of the pie. If you know the spirit of the greasebag, then you can imagine my immediate response. While I’m willing to work hard and deal with difficult situations in order to pull off something I love doing, there are core principals that I’m just not willing to bend on.

The greasebag was to setup to be a free show – for anyone who attended AND for vendor. The vibe was close knit, laid back and free. Attitudes checked at the door, but controlled stupidity encouraged. The show was about us, not them.

With rules and regulations, all those things start to change. The spirit of the show changes, it loses some of that grassroots, D.I.Y feel. I have nothing against the city, they’re just doing what they’re there to do. They’ve got their regulations in place and if they catch you playing on their field, they’re going to enforce the rules. Every city has to find opportunities to make money to pay for the “services” they offer their constituents – Laconia obviously knows what their cash cow is. Fair enough – I get it, you gotta pay to play. Unfortunately, I can’t go against the principals the show was built on and feel good about it. I’d rather not do it at all.

To have cops on the scene to make sure everyone stays in line doesn’t sit well with me. To have to grease the palms of the city doesn’t sit well with me either. This show was never about money, it was about our community. I made enough to cover the expenses by raffling off donations and that was good enough for me. The generosity of Acme Choppers (by donating the space), our sponsors (by donating swag and sponsoring trophies) and everyone who bought a raffle ticket allowed me the opportunity to break even, and that’s all I ever wanted to do. The dynamic of the show was on the right track and I’d rather not change that by introducing a regulatory element.

Simply put – there won’t be a Greasebag this year during Laconia and it’s unlikely that there will ever be another greasebag during Laconia Bike Week.

So is the Greasebag dead? Not quite.
The truth is the Laconia scene was never really ideal for the greasebag to begin with. We took advantage of an opportunity and there was a certain pleasure in going against grain of the traditional bike week tomfoolery but that whole scene was not really for us. So while we’ll migrate from bike week, we’re far from dead. The big question is where and how we’ll drop down next. I don’t have an answer to that question. We may do a similar type of event later in the summer or maybe the show will morph into something else entirely, whether it be a run or taking over a dive bar. I’m not sure where the greasebag is going, but this is not the last you’ve heard of it. I’ve got some ideas rolling around, and if you’ve got some, I’d love to hear them. So whether it’s this year or next year, don’t worry – this is not the last you’ve heard from the greasebag jamboree.