Confirming what everyone had anticipated yesterday lunchtime (July 2) came the official announcement that Autumn Fair 2020 (due to take place September 6-9 at Birmingham’s NEC) has been cancelled for this year by its organisers, Hyve. A day later came the news that Glee, the garden and outdoor living show (also owned by Hyve) that was due to take place 15-17 September will not be going ahead either.
With restrictions still in place to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the real concerns over personal safety from exhibitors and visitors alike, the Hyve team took the tough, but responsible decision to cull these and several of its other exhibitions for this year.
Jessica Dawnay, event director of Spring & Autumn Fair explained that she and her colleagues had been in dialogue with exhibitors, visitors and trade associations, including the GCA, to gain their feedback prior to yesterday’s announcement.
“We would only ever run an event if the community really wanted it. Safety and the wellbeing of others of course is of paramount importance.”
Commenting, Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA said: “These are challenging times for us all as we walk that tightrope balancing personal safety issues with our business responsibilities. I fully respect Hyve’s timely decision, based on the circumstances and the consultative process they adopted with GCA members and other exhibitors as well as retail visitors.”
Jessica revealed that Hyve is now underway with “a fresh approach” for Autumn Fair’s September timeslot with its plans to launch a virtual event spanning a few days, including headline presenters and sector specific elements.
“We are looking forward to when the industry can meet again in person and will focus all efforts and resources on helping the industry bounce back in 2021.” Its Spring Fair 2021 show will take place February 7-11, and the next Autumn Fair will be held 5-8 September 2021.
Adding his endorsement, Charlie Cracknell, event director of Spring & Autumn Fair reassured that the Hyve team’s commitment is “to support the market, getting UK retail flowing, setting up for success post Brexit and getting us all on track.”
A new ‘blueprint’ has already been drawn up for the Spring Fair including precautionary measures, such as three metre wide aisles and stands being a minimum of two metres deep.
The cancellation of the Autumn Fair is the latest in a list of trade shows that will not be taking place this year. Back in April, near the start of lockdown, Clarion announced that Harrogate’s Home and Gift show would not be taking place this year 18-21 July as planned (https://www.pgbuzz.net/home-gift-2020-trade-show-cancelled-for-this-year/).
Then, at the start of last month came the news that dedicated greeting card show, Progressive Greetings Live 2020 organised by Max Exhibitions, would not be going ahead this year. This was despite having been moved from its traditional early June slot to new dates at the beginning of September (3-4) in the optimistic hope that the risks of the coronavirus would have subsided to minimal levels (https://www.pgbuzz.net/pg-live-2020-will-not-go-ahead-as-planned-in-september/).
Commenting at the time, Warren Lomax, co-show director of PG Live said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have taken the decision to cancel PG Live this year, but we know that it is the right thing to do,” commented Warren Lomax, co-owner of Max Exhibitions. “A huge thank you to all of our wonderful exhibitors for their ongoing support, loyalty and patience; it means a great deal. We have held off making this decision in the hope that the situation would change massively, but it was not to be.”
The next PG Live will take place Tuesday 8 June and Wednesday 9 June 2021 at London’s Business Design Centre.
Top: The entrance to the greeting card hall at last September’s Autumn Fair.