13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th June 2019 - report from Wheels & Waves screenings, Biarritz, France
We approached Wheels & Waves this year with some trepidation. Our annual pilgrimage to the Basque county has become an almost religious ritual, and is held very dear to us, particularly director Gareth Maxwell Roberts, who has attended since the early years. We filmed there twice and in many ways Wheels & Waves has come to represent the European alt custom scene.
However, this year there has been a somewhat acrimonious split amongst the founders, which spread very quickly across social media with various individuals and groups taking sides. Many established contributors threatened to stay away. This left the question as to whether W&W could survive with the same spirit.
We had a wonderful time. The film was screened three times, twice in the Cité de Ocean theatre, and once on the outdoor stage. Despite the rain we had a spirited audience who sat under umbrellas to watch the show.
Our OIl In The Blood TW Steel collaboration electrical special built by DeBolex Engineering was exhibited in the Artride Exhibition garnering much interest. The Artride has some incredible bikes on show.
The organisers went to great lengths to make the ‘Oil In The Blood’ team welcome and the experience pleasurable. We had an ‘Oil In The Blood’ tepee where we served our guests with an ample supply of Rebel Yell Bourbon, chatting about all things bikes into the small hours. Despite not having the opportunity to ride as much as we usually do due to the having to run the tepee stand, we had an enjoyable and productive time.
One of the highlights was the unscheduled Breitling Air Display Team flying over the ocean at the foot of the W&W village. The high speed acrobatic display was spectacular.
The ‘Oil In The Blood’ team was joined by its latest and youngest member, Atticus - Gareth’s son - who had just celebrated his first birthday. He had a wonderful time and went home with his first motorcycle. His fast developing passion for bikes was matched by his wonderment at the overflying jets.
Wheels & Waves is becoming bigger by the year, and does miss some of the intimacy of the early editions, but as it’s grown the organisers have widen the scope of the week, adding new events and new angles that keep the event relevant and interesting. We do hope that the two camps can find a way to reconcile their differences and the harmony can return, because Wheels & Waves is a vital event in the European custom culture.
See a series of shots over on our gallery page.