The Great Exhibition live event axed to become virtual event

Organisers of this summer's Great Exhibition planned to coincide with the Olympics have cancelled the live event and will hold a virtual exhibition in its place.

The Great Exhibition live event axed to become virtual event
The Great Exhibition live event axed to become virtual event

The exhibition was set to be held in Peterborough and aimed to replicate The Great Exhibition of 1851 which celebrated British culture and business.

The Virtual Great Exhibition will now run from 28 July until 28 August, lasting for a month instead of the planned two weeks.

A spokesperson from the Great Exhibition told Event: "We had problems trying to make sure we could include everyone in Peterborough. So the virtual exhibition offers a chance for everyone to be involved because we’re not restricted by space. It’s a lot more cost effective, and instead of just having it for two weeks we’re now having it for a month so it’s a longer showcase."

Peterborough City Council told Event it had never received an application to stage the exhibition. "They would have needed to book a space and talk to us," a spokesperson said. "We did have some initial conversations last year but they never finalised anything with us. We were asked whether our embankment was free on a certain date to hold an event, and we told them it was."

Registration is open for the virtual event, which organisers say will include 12 regional pavilions, 12 regional networking lounges, a ‘high street of the future’, a television station and a ‘greats’ pavillion celebrating people and companies entered into the exhibition’s Greats of Great Britain 2012 Awards.

Details of exhibits and exhibitors for the live exhibition had not yet been released.

The Great Exhibition faced the possible threat of legal action from Olympics organiser Locog, which objected to its name on the grounds that is could have contravened copyright laws put in place to protect Olympic sponsors. In June 2011, Locog withdrew its objection.

The event was founded in 2005 by Julie Benson, founder of publishing company Show Time which published exhibition catalogues. Its managing director is Jackie Pollard, former partner at brand and communications agency Tactical Live.

Benson and Pollard were unable to comment at the time of Event going to press.

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