It was perhaps inevitable. As most of you will now be aware, next year’s LAMMA show is to move from its usual January date to May 25th and 26th.
A statement from Elisabeth Mork-Eidem, Group Events Director for organisers, AgriBriefing, reads: “The LAMMA show is a key part of the industry calendar, and we have seen an amazing amount of support from all our loyal exhibitors throughout this year. We know how much everyone wants the show to take place; we’ve had record advance bookings with more exhibitors being signed up even in the last few weeks and lots of interest from visitors to attend. However, pushing on with a January show under the current circumstances does not feel like the right thing to do.
“This has not been an easy decision but listening to the wishes of visitors, exhibitors and sponsors, this will provide the best opportunity to ensure that everyone gets the experience and the value they have come to expect from LAMMA. We look forward to welcoming everyone to the NEC next May.”
Opinions divided on new dates
The news of the postponement will come as no surprise to anyone, but opinions are divided. Whilst the revised dates have been welcomed in some quarters, the decision to hold the event in May has raised a few eyebrows.
Amongst some of the observations made in social media are that the new dates fall right in the middle of the silage season, and many farmers will also be busy spraying and top dressing. Others have pointed out that, potentially, the Royal Highland Show will be one week after the rescheduled LAMMA, while Cereals and Grassland & Muck are also pretty close. In addition, Agritechnica is planned for six months afterwards and LAMMA 2022 will revert to January, just eight months following the 2021 event.
Major challenges for the organisers
Of course, the new dates will suit some better than others and, to be fair to AgriBriefing, their hands may be tied as regards venue availability. Plus, finding a window in the events diary to suit everyone is an impossible ask. Some have suggested that cancelling the 2021 show altogether would be the best and safest decision, but the commercial implications may well be too unpalatable for the organisers to consider that as a viable option, unless they are left with no choice. And of course, that might still be the case. COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon.
Most experts agree that even if – and it’s a big if – a vaccine on a white charger comes galloping over the horizon, coronavirus will still be with us next spring. The only point of contention is ‘to what degree?’
If social distancing restrictions are still in place in May, that is bound to have an impact on the numbers of visitors that can be admitted even if the event is allowed to go ahead. The fewer the numbers through the doors, the less attractive the show is to exhibitors. Furthermore, if coronavirus is still circulating, many farmers may in any case choose to give the event a wide berth.
By a cruel twist of fate, outdoor events actually stand a better chance of going ahead next year than indoor exhibitions – until the move to the NEC in 2019, LAMMA had always been an outdoor show. That being said, a number of county shows, traditionally held outdoors, have already decided to write-off 2021 although some of the larger shows have gone down the digital route, with mixed success.
Clearly there are more questions than answers and a great deal can happen between now and May 2021. Which is why we’re keeping our powder dry until early next year when the picture regarding COVID will hopefully be a little clearer and we have more concrete information on which we can base our decision on whether to go ahead and exhibit at LAMMA or cancel our stand.
But what we’d really like to know is whether or not you intend visiting the LAMMA Show on the new dates in May! We’d love to get your feedback. You can let us know if you’re giving LAMMA 2021 the thumbs-up or the thumbs-down in the Comments section below or by visiting our Facebook page.