The past four months have seen the industry travel to Stoneleigh Park and the NEC and, with the Harrogate offering just a few weeks away, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the shows.
Firstly, the new show on the block; GroundsFest at Stoneleigh Park. Now, many people I spoke to prior to the show had a negative viewpoint on adding another event to the industry calendar, however its inaugural year was undoubtedly a huge success. Exhibitors praised the GroundsFest team for hosting an event on that scale in its first year - which saw people brave no less than a hurricane on the first day - and visitor numbers and enquiries were aplenty.
For me, the show had a nostalgic 'Windsor' feel; it was great to see demos throughout each day and just be surrounded by turf. In a world where people are quick to judge and offer negative comments, 99% of people I spoke to offered well-deserved, positive feedback.
So then, just six week later, the industry flocked to Saltex at the NEC. It obviously has a different feel to a predominantly outdoor show, but again a positive, buoyant response from both exhibitors and visitors alike. The show certainly had something to prove and, in my opinion, it did that! Seminars throughout both days were busy and the new Clubhouse and Community Sport Zone were popular.
As we head to Harrogate in just another eight weeks' time, I think 2024 will be an interesting transition year. I think most people will agree that BTME has its own standing in the calendar. The question will come when some companies have to decide whether they have the budget, time and commitment to attend both GroundsFest and Saltex - will they choose both, or will they be forced to choose one? Time will tell.
In other news, look out for a new Pitchcare website launching in January. There has been extensive development for the new site, offering a more intuitive, targeted, user-friendly experience - both on desktop and mobile.
Dare I say, Merry Christmas!
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