(Newbury) - TPi editor Mark Cunningham braves the British autumn weather to make his way to Newbury, where he brings us the latest from October's busier-than-ever Showman's show...
The wettest summer on record has meant the cancellation of many outdoor events. So it was unbelievable when, expecting rain as usual, the sun shone on the first morning of the 2007 Showman’s Show and continued to shine throughout the two days of the exhibition.
With the sun came over 5,000 visitors — an increase on 2006. Nevertheless, the increase in numbers did not mean a decrease in visitor quality as exhibitors expressed how pleased they were to meet a high number of decision makers who had carefully planned their time at the show.
“We were very busy on both days, meeting existing and potential new clients,” said Star Events Group group sales director Jane Russen. “We could really do with the show taking place over three days! It was very successful for us and is an absolute must in terms of sales, marketing and networking. It’s the only forum where we can showcase our large products, which is of special relevance to the mobile stage market.”
Alan Normanton of Alpha Lettering said: “We’ve exhibited at The Showman’s Show over the past two years but 2007 was the best yet. The show was brilliantly busy with lots of new visitors and leads were secured from all over the UK. The Showman’s Show is the best exhibition we attend; it’s friendly and well-organised but not regimental, and most of all it’s fun!”
Malcolm Burlow of Highlite International BV commented: “Following our debut in 2006 we were pleased to return this year with a new product — the Showtec Marquee Uplighter — which was designed following an idea that was borne from last year’s show. We were kept exceedingly busy from beginning to end and the response from visitors to the new uplighter and our whole product range was amazing. We will definitely be coming back in 2008.”
Entering The Showman’s Show this year, through the amazing structure supplied by Spantech from Belgium, visitors could be forgiven for thinking it was the middle of summer as the clear apex roof of the hall enhanced the sun, making the entrance hall light and airy, providing a wonderful feeling of well-being.
With new technology in the guise of ‘Dorothy’, an automatic badge printing system, visitors who pre-registered too close to the show to receive their badge by post were able to skip past those registering on the day, show their printed bar code to ‘Dorothy’s’ bar code reader and have their printed badge within seconds.
The reputation of The Showman’s Show, for providing the best platform for suppliers to the outdoor event industry, is global. This was confirmed by over 300 exhibitors confirming their attendance months before the show itself, including well over 80 new exhibitors. This meant that many exhibitors were on a waiting list for exhibitor space as Newbury Showground was packed to capacity with the event industry’s elite, showing new products, technologies, innovations and evolutions.
‘Green’ was definitely one of the main themes running throughout this year, as several exhibitors displayed products that had evolved to be more eco-friendly. These included ‘podpads’ with their new sunflower solar panels, PW Industries’ ECO-1 with a 40% better thermal performance and recyclable floor coverings from Reeds Carpets, Leigh Spinners and CTN Exhibitions.
Central to Thorns’ exhibit was the illuminated Atlantis bar — a vibrant area in a funky black-and-pink colour scheme. Thorns displayed items from its state-of-the-art catering equipment on a stand shared with other industry-leading organisations The White Book and Mar-key Marquee.
This year’s event saw Star Events Group showcasing one of its 10m x 8m mobile trailer stages, with key members of staff on hand to discuss the wide range of standard and bespoke staging and structure solutions which have earned Star Events Group its leading position in the UK outdoor staging, structures and rigging market for the past 30 years.
Raising safety standards is at the heart of the Star Events Group ethic and, with a number of European mobile stage suppliers exhibiting at The Showman’s Show this year, the team spent much time discussing the differing standards UK between and European legislation.
“There are potential weight issues, meaning that stages sourced from mainland Europe may not be as resistant to wind pressure as is required in the UK,” said Jane Russen. “It’s an area we’re still investigating, but we are positive that UK-sourced stages are the only ones that definitely comply with legislation here.”
Sunbaba rounded off a busy summer with its 9th year at The Showman’s Show. The company launched a newly-developed product for festival organisers, making statutory signage more cost effective and re-usable.
The new system allows production teams to re-use signage, printed on the company’s air permeable Austronet fabric. Signs are printed and erected on a modular basis so that arrows, text and symbols can be arranged, rigged and reconfigured according to the requirements of the event.
Trevor Booth, Sunbaba’s technical director, explained: “Each year we produce large volumes of event safety and information signs for our client on our air permeable Austronet fabric. We were finding that they were customising it for a particular event and this meant that it was unusable afterwards, for something as simple as the arrow pointing the wrong way on an exit sign. We decided to design a modular solution that means organisers can use the signs repeatedly.”
Finally, Stephen Lance, of the show’s organising body, commented on another great year: “The Showman’s Show has always been an exhibition that launches many new technologies and innovations within the outdoor event industry and this year was no exception. We are proud to provide the stage for some of the best products and services the industry has to offer.
“It was a terrific two days at Newbury and we are all looking forward to seeing what exciting exhibits will be shown in 2008.”
The next Showman’s Show will be held on October 22-23 2008.