So, we made it to the end of lockdown and our world is returning to 'normal'. However, the two industry shows that have been held recently certainly suggested that people just weren't ready to venture out - or was it, given the time of year, that they were too busy, being Covid cautious and/or on holiday?
I attended both The Festival of Turf and The Sports & Grounds Expo (SAGE) during July, and it was so nice to get out and catch up with people face to face. Although footfall wasn't quite what exhibitors would have hoped, the general feeling was that visitors had gone with a purpose. Everyone likes to see a bustling show but, at the end of the day, it comes down to value for money and many exhibitors said they had received some strong enquiries.
The show organisers reported they had received positive feedback from both visitors and exhibitors which had brought a buzz and energy back to the industry after the pandemic.
BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: "It is the start of a strong new chapter. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all the exhibitors who signed up to support BIGGA and its members at what we hope is the beginning of a strong new chapter for the golf and wider sports turf industry."
Whilst SAGE Exhibition Manager Vicky Panniers commented that the show had massive potential: "The foundations for SAGE have now been set and have provided a strong starting point, from which we can build. The team are reviewing carefully the feedback from the exhibitors and visitors to guarantee that we are actively incorporating the needs of the industry into SAGE 2022."
What many people said throughout the shows was that the format of an outdoor event is very much welcomed, as it provides an opportunity for demo plots. The question comes about what time of year an outdoor show works? In summer, there are busy periods and holidays to contend with which could affect visitor numbers and, in winter, the weather could be abysmal. Also mentioned during both shows was the requirement for just one show… which we won't go into at this time!
Looking forward, it won't be long before SALTEX and BTME are upon us. Both shows have missed a year and I'm sure they will be welcome returns to the industry calendar.