You may have heard of the Shutter Gang. Creating a stir on social media and around town, they are Aylesbury’s top band of car enthusiasts that attract huge numbers to their monthly meets, with a surprisingly eclectic membership base.
Modified cars are always a marmite topic, you either love them are you hate them and no doubt whenever the subject comes up people will have strong views about it.
So the Bucks Herald caught up with Bart Kesek, the head honcho of the Shutter Gang to get their side of the story.
Alongside his Economics, Finance and International Business degree, Bart started up the Shutter Gang last October, which also operates as a photography business.
The Shutter Gang are a community of about 1,300 people from all over the South of England, who take their name from their passion for photography. Their events draw people from Nottingham to Kent.
Added to that, they have been able to amass such numbers despite only being in operation for six months.
Bart said: “Everybody has a right to say what they think but at the end of the day, we all respect each other and have a great time doing what we love.
“We are more than just boy racers. We try to be informative, and sometimes host tutorials for people who want to work on their cars by themselves. It’s a learning process and the great thing about our elective membership is that there is always someone who knows something about everything.
“What we really want, is to get the youth of Aylesbury involved, to provide an outlet for young people who want to express themselves.
“There is hardly anything in Aylesbury for young people to do, so it’s nice to find an outlet to channel spare time. I had this problem with my friends when I was younger.
“It’s disappointing all the abuse we’ve been getting on the Aylesbury Grapevine. I’m certain if the people came who are slagging us off would absolutely love it if they turned up to a meet.
“I’m sure they would come again! A great example of this would be my mum! She hates me modifying the car. She is always tells me off for putting money into it.
“I bought her to the fifth meet, and she absolutely loved it. She had a great time. Had a wander around, looked at the cars. It was great and completely changed her perception of us. It was a conversion.
“I wish people would look beyond stereotypes and public perception. For the people who have a negative opinion of us, just turn up and see what you think afterwards.
“The image of the Shutter Gang for the public is the 1.2l engine cars from 1998 and that’s not true! We’ve got a great mix of new cars and classics. Some of them are worth quite a lot of money.
“Everyone is welcome, we do attract people from a wide demographic. We’ve had people who are 50 and 60 come down in their cars, and they absolutely love it. We just try and fit everyone in and have fun.
When asked about whether they disturb the public, Bart said: “People who want to hear it, hear it. They do find it a bit noisy but we try to keep the noise levels down so everyone can have a good time and passers by can enjoy the spectacle. We always try and leave by ten because we understand people have work in the morning.
“We really do care about the public wellbeing, and take safety seriously – at the end of the day it’s our necks if something goes wrong so we try and keep everybody in the community happy.
Despite this disruptive perception, the Shutter Gang have approached the council for permission to use one of their lesser used car parks, even offering to pay them but unfortunately were unable to broker a deal.
Bart said: “It’s good for the local council, it puts Aylesbury on the map and we do put a lot of money into the local economy and businesses. We always looking for partners to work with us, or land owners where we can hold meets. It’s beneficial to everyone if we work together.
“We won’t choose say Tesco car park for any particular reason, it’s for lack of other options. There’s no other places which are big enough!”
The next Shutter Gang meet will be on April 23, and there will be a collection for Robin’s Wheelchair fund and all sticker sales will be donated to the fund.
Robin is raising funds for a wheelchair after a cyst was discovered on her spinal chord.
To donate, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/robyns-wheelchair-fund
For more details of the ShutterGang, visit https://www.facebook.com/shuttergangmedia/