REVIEW: The Showman’s Show 2018

Innovation and sustainability were key themes at this year’s show reports Michelle Tayton.

The Showman's show building

Once again the Showman’s Show delivered a great cross section of products and services across the entire event production supply chain; from state-of-the-art structures, plant and hire equipment to waste management, sustainable solutions, entertainment and finishing touches. The diversity of the exhibits on show was coupled with innovative launches and masses of ideas for moving events forward.

Over 50 Vision:2025 festival teams and environmentally-minded suppliers gathered on the first day in the ‘Hub Talks’ tipi to share knowledge and experiences of working towards making events more sustainable. Teams from events as diverse as Hay Festival, Boomtown Fair, Greenbelt and Just So festival, and many more, gathered to watch event director Johnny Lance open the day with a round-up of initiatives the Showman’s Show team had undertaken to improve its environmental impact. This was followed by Paul Reed of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) sharing how 60 UK festivals have come together to cut single-use plastics at events.

After an afternoon of speakers on innovation in supplier services and products, and expert advice on key topics such event power, waste, travel and toilets, the day ended with a call to action to join the festival communities who are taking action around environmental issues. Energy Revolution shared plans to help events balance or ‘offset’ over 10 million fossil-fuel festival travel miles by 2020 with investment in renewable energy. The 8thPlate project called for more events to send surplus festival food to those in need, and Julie’s Bicycle launched an offer for Vision:2025 festivals to use their Creative IG tools to accurately measure the impacts of events.

RAW Bottles, with its high-quality stainless steel brand-able drinking bottles, took home the Green Supplier and Innovation Award. Now in its fourth year, this award was judged in front of a panel in a Dragons Den style presentation for the first time. The panel included Claire O’Neill from A Greener Festival, Catherine Bottrill of Julie’s Bicycle, Paul Reed from AIF and Steve Heap of the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO).

The Showman's show attendees

Commenting on the success of this year’s Showman’s Show, Lance said: “The response of exhibitors and visitors to the show is probably the best way to gauge how successful it has been, and I have to say we have been completely inundated with positive feedback! On site we had visitors popping into the show office to say how much they had enjoyed the show, as well as companies who want to exhibit at next year’s event requesting meetings and lots of great comments from exhibitors.

“A quick look at our social media accounts and you’ll see some really encouraging posts from visitors and exhibitors alike. Now that the dust has settled and we’re back at our desks I’m pleased to say that it continues; we’ve received fantastic comments from exhibitors who have been with us for years saying that it was their best show yet and lots of exhibitors who want to rebook for 2019 straight away. It doesn’t really get any better than that.
“The show had a really nice buzz to it throughout which was great to see. All in all, a really positive couple of days that leave us very much looking forward to the Showman’s Show 2019.”

The Showman’s Show 2019 will take place at Newbury Showground on 16-17 October.


OAB’s Top Picks

GT Trax

GT Trax laid down in a field

As well as being a leading supplier of plastic temporary roadways and walkways, GT Trax also provides marquee flooring, event seating and structures, all for hire or purchase with nationwide delivery and installation.

LuxTrax and LiteTrax are ideally suited to marquee flooring, delivering non-slip temporary walkways for inside or outside. LuxTrax is used to provide walkways at the Burghley and Badminton Horse Trials and at many outdoor exhibitions. The Lite version can be used to create a plastic floor – particularly good where it will be covered by carpet, with holes for gripper rods.



DCRS radio allocation system

Providing radios for hire, sale or lease, DCRS showcased its Radio Allocation System (RAS) which uses a simple on-site PC based system to allow event organisers to log radios and accessories to individual users or groups. The system is delivered preloaded with all of the equipment on hire and records a username, email address/telephone number and a user photo, all of which is dated and time stamped, providing an accurate record of what equipment is left unallocated. A simple report shows what has not been returned at the end of the hire and who has the equipment!


Cooling and Heating Solutions

cooling and heating solutions stand

Cooling and Heating Solutions has provided temporary heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems nationwide for over 25 years and remains a family run business. Among its product lines is an up-to-date range (15kW up to 200kW) of indirect oil fired heaters available for sale or hire. These heaters are fantastic for heating temporary structures and event spaces – marquee heating is their forté!

Hire costs from £89+vat per week, or buy from £699+vat, with delivery the same or next day. Service and maintenance of any heater also undertaken at home or away.



Stages for hire product

StagesForHire offers mid-size stages for events across the UK, perfect for festivals, concerts and community events.

At the show it launched a new trailer mounted Victorian bandstand structure with an impressive two hour build time. Offering an elegant alternative to a regular event stage, it will add glamour to any festival, party, wedding, ball or special event.

Measuring 4.8m across, the octagonal structure is self-supporting and needs no additional weights or ropes to fasten it down. Full PA, lighting, power supplies, experienced crew and technicians and a whole range of extras are also available.


Magic Tea Pot

Magic teapot pod

Billed as the ‘friendliest festival venue’ and perfect for acoustic music and singalongs, the ‘kettle is always on’ in the Magic Tea Pot! An intimate pop-up venue with a fireplace at its centre, the 12 sided structure measures 8m across and features built in bench seating all the way around, with further seating around the fire. We can see this at festivals and even fancy parties, hosted by its friendly crew of musicians, fire keepers and tea makers.

Instruments come included, with a tuned acoustic piano, guitars, trombone and saxophone – and anyone is welcome to play, creating an ever-changing vibe.


RAW Bottles

RAW eco-friendly bottle

RAW Bottles is the sister organisation to RAW Foundation, a UK sustainable development charity that has been committed to raising awareness and campaigning against pointless plastic for over a decade.

Available in 500ml or 750ml sizes, these stainless steel brand-able bottles come with either a traditional screw or sports top and have already been adopted by green minded festivals including Glastonbury, Shambala and Port Eliot. Every bottle sold helps tackle single-use plastic and also helps fund RAW Foundation’s education and campaign work globally. We are delighted that RAW won the The Green Supplier and Innovation Award at the show.

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