What a load of tosh ! I am a Game Fair veteran of many,many years and Belvoir was the worst I've been to for ages and a huge disappointment.Speaking to the guys on Fishermans Row they were saying the same...they'd had a bad day on Friday due to the weather & Saturday was looking if anything worse.I'd guess maybe as many as 25-30 % of the trade stands I'd expect to be there simply weren't,hardly anybody was prepared to do a deal and nobody was spending any money anyway.Maybe its the recession or maybe the fees demanded for a stand were so high traders didn't think they'd cover their costs.Whatever...it made for a show that was low on content and completely lacking in atmosphere.Rubbish...with a capital "R" followed by "ubbish".
That said there were some "proper" dealers there who place great store in the relationship between themselves & their customers and know that people are prepared to buy if a bit of a deal is on offer.They will get my money everytime...and did.I can heartily recommend a certain tackle dealer in Harrogate who is an absolute pleasure to deal with...and not just because he gave me a free hat !
As for the show itself it was IMO poorly laid out.There were hardly any announcements to let you know what was going on in the main arena and when will show organisers learn that you simply cannot expect the local Sea Scouts to make a decent fist of parking that many cars.I was there at 0730 and ready to come home by 1430 which is unheard off.Normally I'm dragged out by security an hour after closing time.The highlight for me was "accidentally" stepping on Lembit Madeupname's hand as he sat on the grass eating his lunch though I did have to detour quite a bit out of my way to do it.
Blenheim last year was 10 times the show this was .Greatest show ever ? Not by several country miles and at £21 to get in I expected a lot better.
Sort yourselves out CLA.This was an absolute disgrace though I'm sure somebody made a shedload.
It was £24 on the Friday [Toffs Day] and believe me it is normally worth the extra just to see a selection of "twit" in full summer plumage but not even I was keen enough to brave the weather last week.Even with my Telegraph voucher it was £18 on Saturday.
Such a shame because the CLA is the show of the year and I'd been looking forward to this for ages.
I've seen a number of articles now saying what a fantastic show it was though these have all eminated from high up in the CLA...so its hardly a surprise to hear them say what a fantastic job they made of it.It was poor.
I will still go next year because it cannot be as bad again and its a damn sight nearer too.
3 bacon rolls cost me a tenner ! The theiving footpads !
Skippy, all the big shows are way down on exhibitors these days, cost to an exhibitor for the CLA, is appx 12-1500£, over the years they dont get the footfall required to make a decent enough profit, yet the show organisers still up the rent every year until it becomes non profitable.
The Royal Show is no more, and lots of others have gone the same way, lots of the County shows are hanging on a thread.
I did all these shows for 12 years making and selling cheese, you would not believe how the takings have gone down slowly in those 12 years.
I was made redundant Dec 08 it got that bad, over two thirds of the shows we did were no longer worth going to.
But now I can go fishing whenever I want.
The organisers are missing the point.A lot of people go out of curiosity,a lot more go to pose but there are shedloads of others [like me and Phil] who go to enjoy the atmosphere and also spend a few quid.Where else can you go to see [potentially] a full range of gear from all the manufacturers ? Not in your local shop for sure.Its like a great big shopping mall for fieldsports people..or ought to be.
I was desperate to spend some money on Saturday [and I did] but it was quite hard to do so.There was no coarse gear of any consequence...not unusual for the CLA which fishing wise is almost completely game orientated...bar some right old junk including a rather splendid 5 foot flourescent pink spinning rod which I nearly bought for you.I couldn't even find a Shakespeare lead rod which is always there somewhere.
We sat there drinking a rather splendid pint of Stowford Press overlooking Fisherman's Row at 3 pm on Saturday and it was deserted.Absolutely unheard of.
I went into a well known supplier of fly tying materials to get a few bits and the 4 guys there had given up on doing any business and were sat there having a laugh & getting ******.
As I said there was one splendid dealer there who we did do some business with but he would rather offer a good discount and sell some gear than stick out for £10 off RRP on a £200 rod,take it home and make a loss on the weekend.Top bloke...but very much one of a kind last weekend.
The Midland Game Fair is completely different.Far less toff friendly and there will be some serious trading going on.I will go to that and I fully expect it to be miles better than Belvoir.The trouble with the CLA is that they have begun to believe their own press releases and the doing of it has now become more important than what it was intended to be about.
But where else can you see posh totty in tweed mini skirts and Dubarry boots eh ?
Ah there's a problem then, I thought I went to Belvoir last year, or was it the year before then?
The stallholders were complaining that some hadn't turned up after the way they were treated after the year before washout!!
Must have been another game fair then!! I'll check back.
I know we gave it up as a bad job, and went to lunch in Stamford!!
Getting old, time flies when your enjoying yourself
If you lunched in Stamford it must have been Belvoir.
The CLA is on a 4 year venue cycle ie Blenheim,Belvoir,Broadlands,Harewood House...except the Romsey toff complained so much about the last Broadlands fair that its been moved to Ragley Hall Worcs next year.New venue so maybe they will make a bit of an effort.It was at Wooburn during the Foot & Mouth year.
Maybe I was expecting too much after Blenheim but speaking to the stallholders the cost of a stand is astronomic so maybe this year the sums just didn't add up for them & they stayed away.
Be interesting to see an objective view.The CLA view is IMO overt own trumpet blowing and I've clearly got the arse & will not be persuaded otherwise.