Over 100 exhibitors and 656 visitors engaged in business in the relaxed atmosphere created at Showman’s North. Whilst not vast in size, the show drew event professionals from all sectors of the events’ industry with visitors ranging across representatives from Council events departments, the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, agricultural shows, corporate and exhibition organizers and event management companies.
Whilst many of the visitors were looking at events for the coming 2002 season, exhibitors also reported taking enquiries for the 2003 season. The exhibitors at the show certainly represented a good cross section of event suppliers. On the avenue from the car park to the exhibition hall visitors passed through the outdoor section of the show flanked by stands ranging from giant outdoor screens and stages, through to entertainment, signage and banner suppliers and caterers. One of the last exhibits visitors passed before entering the main hall attracted the most media attention. ‘Phoenix the calf’ represented a symbol of hope for the countryside during the worst moments of last year’s foot and mouth crisis, and her presence at the Showman’s North was significant in that she was the first livestock to be allowed back onto a showground since the crisis.
Inside the main exhibition hall the diversity of suppliers continued. Most of the exhibitors had approached this first Northern show cautiously and the Show proved a very cost effective marketing medium. Joining some of the familiar brands in the events marketplace including Thorns Furniture Hire, ARB Audio and Visual Hire, AP Security and Laser Hire were several new faces with new products. ‘123 Send’ unveiled their ‘Cardsafe’ mobile credit card system. At the other end of the technology scale ‘Frogmat’ is an environmentally friendly floor protection system. The Searchlight Company’s giant inflatable funguys have become familiar sights at large outdoor events and sporting occasions, and MD Graham Smith used Showman’s North to launch their new indoor funguy.
Following their excursion North, the Showman’s organizers were pleased with the first show. Jeremy Lance, one of the show’s organisers, commented: "We have had a very encouraging and positive response from both exhibitors and visitors. We produced this Northern show in response to requests from the marketplace and initial feedback suggests that we would appear to have gone some way to meeting their requirements. I’m sure there will be changes and improvements for next year, but we are delighted that we have established what will become an annual exhibition focused on the requirements of event professionals from Northern England and Scotland."
The main Showman’s Show will take place on Newbury Showground on 16th & 17th Oct, 2002. More details will be announced in the press shortly.