The Outdoors Show

Well, yesterday marks what will probably be the last time I visit the annual Outdoors Show at the NEC in Birmingham. I have attended this show since the first time it was staged and have seen a steady decline in the quality of the event to the extent that my visit yesterday was little more than a disappointing and wasted day. I don't blame the exhibitors. I have exhibited at NEC shows in the past and I am aware of the exhorbitant costs involved and fully understand why the major players and most smaller manufacturers and specialists now seem to boycot the event.
Unless the organisers revue their planning, I feel the Outdoors Show has now run it's course. The future may well lie in smaller, more specialist events held on different dates around the UK.



Are you saying quality of the event has declined in terms of number of exhibitors or the type of exhibitors or even the type of visitors to the show?
LotC said…
The Show has declined in both the quality of the event and the diversity of the exhibitors. There were far too many tour and holiday companies and very little of anything else which was of interest to me and many others I have spoken to. I was hoping to see a number of equipment manufacturers and they were all conspicuous by their absence.

I have been a kayaker and canoeist for many years, as well as a backpacker and hillwalker. This year, the paddlesports section at the NEC amounted to about four or five stands with none of the major manufacturers exhibiting. The fact that PaddleFest 09 was staged at Holme Pierrepont the very same weekend and was well attended by both exhibitors and public alike tells me that smaller, more specialised events are probably going to be more popular and certainly more relevant to my interests. From my point of view, these are the type of events I shall attend in future and I will definitely kick the OS Show into touch unless the organisers can do something radical to turn the event around and make it attractive again. PaddleFest was free to enter, parking was free and there were many bargains to be had.

Contrast that against the OS Show:

For a couple who paid on the door, the cost would have been £17 each for entry to the Show with an added £8 car park charge.

A potential cost of £42 to attend a poor quality show? Sorry, I know where I would rather spend that sort of money, and it isn't at the NEC.

The Backpackers Club AGM and lightweight gear and tent show is to be held in the Peak District and will no doubt be well attended by people who are specifically interested in lightweight backpacking. Many of those same people, myself included, may well have been disappointed by the OS Show.