SHOW PREVIEW: Showman time again - With visitor numbers increasing at last year's Showman's Show, the organisers are confident they have found the right formula. Simon Clarke previews what visitors can expect this time round

The Showman's Show takes over Berkshire's Newbury Showground again on 18 to 19 October, with an extra aisle and an increased international presence. An innovative range of new products, plus a number of new faces among the exhibitors should add up to a broader and more worthwhile experience for visitors.

The Showman's Show takes over Berkshire's Newbury Showground again on 18 to 19 October, with an extra aisle and an increased international presence. An innovative range of new products, plus a number of new faces among the exhibitors should add up to a broader and more worthwhile experience for visitors.

The core of the show will remain unchanged, however, and the fact that visitor numbers last year were up 10% on 1998 would seem to indicate that the event has found a successful formula.

Show director Stephen Lance says: 'The number of visitors is our best barometer, indicating that we are creating the right environment for people to display their products and conduct business.'

Exhibitors clearly agree, with a wide range of products and services on show including marquees, furniture and flooring, ticketing, crowd control, catering as well as a wealth of entertainment.

The visitor market for the show is similarly diverse. Everyone from corporate marketing departments to festival organisers, and golf clubs to stately homes are sure to find something of interest.


Air-conditioning/mobile heating

Getting a bit hot under the collar? Cool off with air-conditioning from Aggreko UK, Air Coolmation or Air Trembath. They also do heaters for when the weather lets you down, as does Arcotherm, which can supply mobile indirect fired marquee space heaters.


A number of trade bodies will be here to offer a helping hand, from the Association of Show & Agricultural Organisations and the National Outdoor Events Association to The Event Services Association (TESA). For more specialist needs, the Made-Up Textiles Association represents specialist industrial textile companies, while The Mobile & Outside Caterers' Association (Great Britain) represents the UK's show and event caterers.


Tramping around a field all day is hungry work, so it's lucky that catering specialists will be on hand to tantalise you with their wares. As its name suggests, The Cornish Pasty Co (Mobile) can sort you out with freshly baked cornish pasties, while Bailey's of Peterborough offers hampers, picnics and barbecues, not to mention real ale and champagne bars for when you work up a thirst.

Gourmet Girls provides event hospitality catering to corporate events, festivals and film locations, plus, crew, security, staff catering, backstage and VIP support.

And if you're short of some eating irons, Thorns Catering Equipment Hire can sort you out with banqueting furniture, cutlery, crockery, glassware, and silverware.

Cleaning and waste disposal

As anyone who's been to Glastonbury can vouch, the end of any sizeable event is a sea of devastation. Clean up with Sagum Events, which provides cleaning and waste disposal services to sports events, exhibitions and shows, or Stephen P Bord & Associates, which offers waste collection, cleaning, disposal and a full range of related services.

Crowd control, security, traffic management and car parking

Lux Traffic Controls can sort out traffic management and provide portable traffic signals and signing, while Personal Parking offers international admission control and traffic control services. Cash and traffic management is also available from Special Event Security, plus audit, parking and admission control. If you want to keep a tight rein on your audience, try Artiband identification wristbands from Orakel UK. And just to be on the safe side, let SES Ambulance Services supply professional medical support, from a first-aider to a field hospital.


DEI Electrical Services provides electrical and exhibition services to the outdoor event market, including fire extinguishers, CCTV surveillance systems, event power supplies and generating sets. Event Power offers safe distribution of electricity to outdoor events, with all equipment specifically designed for outdoor event environment and greenfield sites. If you need to keep the noise down, Power Electrics (Bristol) specialises in super silent Hushgen generators and associated equipment, while WGS Power & Lighting provides power, lighting and electrical distribution.


It's not all work, work, work. Do yourself a favour and line up some fun and games to put some sparkle into your event. Horses Impossible is a trick riding and performing troupe for films, shows and corporate work in almost any historical context, while Circus Whiz from John Jeremy Creative Entertainment is a self-contained interactive circus skills workshop.

For all the fun of the fair, Premier Rides supplies rides for corporate entertainment. If you fancy something a little more extreme, NM Promotions will give you Team Extreme - 30 performers thrashing their skateboards and BMX bikes - while S & D Leisure (Europe) will set pulses racing with its two flight simulators and an ejector seat.

Down on the farm, children of all ages will enjoy Miller's Ark Animals and its mobile farm, while the Terrier Roadshow Racing Team promises thrills and spills on the flat and over the sticks.

Enjoy a bit of slapstick with Knockout Challenge's collection of inflatables, props, scenery, dressing up, fun and laughter, or take your costumes a bit more seriously with English Civil War re-enactments by The Sealed Knot, the largest historical re-enactment society in Europe. Then round it all off with pyrotechnics from The Firework Co, with professionally fired displays from pounds 500 to pounds 50,000, and DIY display packs from pounds 100.

Equipment hire

Jewson Hire Point offers toilet and shower facilities, catering equipment, small marquees and various ancillary items for event organisers, while Welwyn Tool Co will demonstrate Leister hot air tools for repairing and welding all types of thermoplastics used for tarpaulins, tents, awnings, tilts and blinds. High street stalwarts HSS Hire Service Group will also be there, along with Maxxiom and SGB.

Event management/insurance

Not quite sure what you need for your corporate shindig? Entertainment Plus specialises in corporate events, fun days, parties, outdoor events and conferences, while Peter Johnson Entertainments handles outdoor entertainment for arenas, corporate participation attractions and music and dance groups.

In case anything goes wrong, get event-based cover from Insurex Expo-Sure, and insure your marquees with CoverMarque from Emson Corporate Services. Symonds Group can assist with risk assessment, site design, and event safety coordination.


New at the show is Epic, the European distributor of Gridmat portable plastic flooring and check out Rola-Trac - a new plastic temporary flooring system used by the British Army as hard tent flooring.

Portable and roll-out offerings are on show from Eve Trakway and Eventfloor. For heavy duty use, Terra Cover from Venue Revenue Services is temporary flooring for pedestrian and vehicular access, while TRAC provides aluminium temporary roadways and access bearing loads of up to 45 tonnes.

And what about access to the venue? Mitchell Bridges has a wealth of temporary pedestrian footbridges to help you cross awkward roads and rivers.


Marquee sorted, but nowhere to sit down? Lamata Contract Furniture manufactures and supplies banqueting furniture including plywood folding tables and picket fencing, while outdoors types will welcome Thatchreed's tables, benches and sundry camping equipment. For other furniture for contract or hire talk to the people at SC Engineering or Thorns.

Marquees and display

Need a marquee? You've come to the right place. Source your aluminium-framed marquees from a host of companies, including LH Woodhouse & Co, Alresford Tectonics, and John M Carter. The Marquee Company will be showing Crystal Clear View, which features see-through walls, floor and gables.

For something a bit smaller, Bradford Cover & Tent Co offers small marquees ideally suited to the small event, while Instant Pop Up Shelters offers just what it says - pop-up shelters that go up in a minute and fold down to the size of a large golf bag. Jovi also has a wide range of modular, easy-to-erect shelters, and Air-Set will raise eyebrows with its inflatable domes. For banner displays, JMS flagpoles offers its fold-down Indoor Display Unit that allows banners to be displayed under cover.

For that custom feel, Ferrari SA and Lows of Dundee make PVC fabrics for marquee structures. To add to the atmosphere, Custom Covers (1984) and Covers & Linings have interior linings including starlights, blackouts, pleated linings and coloured accessories. For ancillary materials such as eyelets, plastic buckles and the like, try OPAS (Southern) or Kayospruce.

Mobile toilets/hospitality units

All that liquid refreshment has to go somewhere. Handy loos are available from a number of sympathetic suppliers, including the aptly named Andy Loos, and Shorelink (International). Heavy duty toilet systems (we daren't ask) are the speciality of MTM, while the vital task of servicing can be left in the capable hands of Buckingham of Kenilworth.

For broader event hire mobile units, including hospitality units, showers, secure offices and site sleepers, Bunk-a-Bin, Torton Bodies and Selwood should have what you need.

Printing services

For your programme and catalogue publishing needs call on Geerings of Ashford, which can also handle advertisement selling, design and printing, and publication sales for show and event organisers.

PA equipment

For hire, sales and service of PA and communications equipment call on Roadphone Communications. Audiolink has all the latest Motorola two-way radio gear, and Motek Portable Products has everything from mobile phones and two-way radios to pagers, fax machines, and the new Dolphin ExpressNet.

If you're planning a broadcast event, Pure Energy Productions offers staging, sound, lighting, video walls and roadshow vehicles, while Super Sounds UK has outside broadcasting vehicles and equipment for events of all sizes.

BBV Digital's LED screens are available to hire. Screen can range in size from 5m square to 45m square and can be self supported or suspended. Production support is also available.

Staging and effects

See Pitstop Barriers' market-leading barrier system and temporary fencing for when things get a little out of hand. And try something different with Alistage's curved roof and stage system plus shaped staging units. When everything looks a bit dark, The Searchlight Co will shed some light on the situation with its animated inflatable Skyguys and Skytubes for promotions, advertising and entertainment.


Check out the latest equipment in ticketing and revenue control from Directional Data Systems and Orion Security Printing. Access all areas with security wristbands including innovations such as barcoding from ID&C and new exhibitor PAC 3000.

Trailers and mobile units

Conway Products has the latest in exhibition units and van trailers, including dramatic sounding decontamination units. Other mobile units are on show from David Wilson's Trailers, Bankfarm Trailers and Lynton Showpoint Group.


John Bradshaw will be exhibiting electric/petrol personnel vehicles, cargo carriers and security vehicles, all are available for rental/purchase.


If the Newbury Showground doesn't offer quite what you need, a number of other venues are at hand, including Harrogate's Great Yorkshire Showground and Woodlands Manor Estates.

Canford Park Arena is a new, all-purpose, all-weather, open-air venue near Bournemouth with a terraced amphitheatre surrounding a multi-ring events space. The southern venue can accommodate audiences from 3,000 right up to 70,000.


Venue: Newbury Showground Time:

October 18 - 9.30am-5pm

October 19 - 9.30am-4.30pm How to get there

By road: via M4 from London or A34 from Oxford or Newbury

By rail: to Newbury or Didcot Parkway from London (courtesy bus to the showground)

By air: to Heathrow (45 minutes away on the M4) or Bristol.

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