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Warley National Model Exhibition 2021 - Cancelled


Graham_Muz
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The Warley NEC show is of course a club show rather than a commercial show and as such relies entirely on volunteers to make it happen. Maybe some of the older and more vulnerable volunteers were still a bit nervous about spending a weekend at the show.

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3 minutes ago, F-UnitMad said:

As Des Lynam said when the USA introduced Beach Volleyball for the Olympics...

"Going down the Pub is not yet an Olympic Event."


That's a shame.  I'm sure that Roundhouse and I would be national heros by now if it were. :jester:

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2 hours ago, fezza said:

Very disappointing news when one thinks people are now packing into football and cricket stadiums, not to mention snooker  venues, theatres and nightclubs.

 

I suppose any model club has to be careful not too expose itself too much with cancellation costs but it's a shame there isn't a way to protect against this through deals with venues, stakeholders and insurance. Model manufacturers surely have a massive incentive for these events to go ahead and perhaps ought to do more to share the risks.  Warley is practically the Olympics of the hobby.

 

Possibly a good reminder that the economics of a model railway show are finely balanced.  Cancellation insurance in the current climate is likely to be expensive, if it can be obtained at all.

Any debate about risk sharing would be...  ...interesting!  While some manufacturers have indeed benefitted from increase sales during lockdown,  I wouldn't expect all of them to have the sort of deep pockets that might be required should a show the size of Warley be a financial disaster.

A lockdown is easy to deal with, because it's a known quantity.  The early months of recovery are much more tricky because of the uncertainty.

Mark

 

Edited by 2mmMark
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3 hours ago, bmthtrains - David said:

...unless they publicise what safety measures they will have in place I’ll be passing as I remain very cautious.

 

Had Warley put any measures in place or just business as usual? If the latter then I’m not surprised it’s being cancelled.

 

David

 If there are any exhibition organisers who have not yet grasped the point, I think there's a very important set of facts to be recognised: Many people will still be much too cautious / frightened either to attend or to participate in staging potentially crowded indoor shows unless the organisers take on the responsibility for providing and imposing the toughest possible Covid control measures, including for instance compulsory mask wear for all categories of visitor, unless the general infection rate at the time of the show is so extremely low as to be insignificant. Even if the government no longer imposes such controls by law, the fact is that many of us will not willingly expose ourselves to crowded or confined situations unless mask wear is insisted upon. If the organisers fear that such insistence on safety would deter too many of their other potential visitors, or would lead to arguments on the door or even legal challenges form those who selfishly demand that their own "rights" should come before the safety of other visitors and exhibitors, then more cancellations are inevitable.

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36 minutes ago, gr.king said:

 If there are any exhibition organisers who have not yet grasped the point, I think there's a very important set of facts to be recognised: Many people will still be much too cautious / frightened either to attend or to participate in staging potentially crowded indoor shows unless the organisers take on the responsibility for providing and imposing the toughest possible Covid control measures, including for instance compulsory mask wear for all categories of visitor, unless the general infection rate at the time of the show is so extremely low as to be insignificant. Even if the government no longer imposes such controls by law, the fact is that many of us will not willingly expose ourselves to crowded or confined situations unless mask wear is insisted upon. If the organisers fear that such insistence on safety would deter too many of their other potential visitors, or would lead to arguments on the door or even legal challenges form those who selfishly demand that their own "rights" should come before the safety of other visitors and exhibitors, then more cancellations are inevitable.

 

Looking at today's anti-vax protest attacking the BBC at television centre (they moved out years ago, but hey ho) then the stewards on the door better be an armed militia if you want to impose all restrictions. I suggest this makes all shows and indeed all other indoor events impractical now and in the future. 

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4 hours ago, woodenhead said:

 

Is Doncaster the first big one of 2022, Model Rail Scotland is scheduled at the end of February.

 

Depends of course on your definition of a big exhibition,  but Stafford, in its new bigger venue, is (hopefully) the first weekend in February. 

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5 minutes ago, Mark Forrest said:

 

Depends of course on your definition of a big exhibition,  but Stafford, in its new bigger venue, is (hopefully) the first weekend in February. 

Stafford is big to me.

 

So apart from possibly GETS we are looking at February for the start of the shows, that gives us chance to experience winter without restrictions (hopefully) and know where we stand.

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5 minutes ago, Mark Forrest said:

 

Depends of course on your definition of a big exhibition,  but Stafford, in its new bigger venue, is (hopefully) the first weekend in February. 

I’m only one person but I definitely plan to go to Stafford 2022. Unless something goes horribly wrong between now and then we will all be used to accepting the Covid risk. By then a bigger question might be whether trade exhibitors can get enough out of shows to make it worthwhile. I have absolutely no indication on this but we know that many traders have got used to living with online sales. We also know that attending an exhibition can be very costly for a trade exhibitor. The revenue/reputation gains made at a show have to outweigh the cost of the stand, fuel, maybe a hotel, additional staff wages, food for stand workers etc etc. I do hope things return to where they were but we do know that the world of business has changed post Covid.

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I’d be even less likely to attend medium shows like Taunton than I am Warley or TINGS. I normally take my Dad to Taunton but with those narrow school corridors and 2-way entrance/exits to rooms, no chance he’d risk it.

 

At least at Warley it’s much more of an open space.

 

As it looks like no one is going to ask people to wear masks, add protective shields, or space things out I’m ruling out any shows until next spring at the earliest…

 

David 

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8 minutes ago, Chris M said:

I’m only one person but I definitely plan to go to Stafford 2022. Unless something goes horribly wrong between now and then we will all be used to accepting the Covid risk. By then a bigger question might be whether trade exhibitors can get enough out of shows to make it worthwhile. I have absolutely no indication on this but we know that many traders have got used to living with online sales. We also know that attending an exhibition can be very costly for a trade exhibitor. The revenue/reputation gains made at a show have to outweigh the cost of the stand, fuel, maybe a hotel, additional staff wages, food for stand workers etc etc. I do hope things return to where they were but we do know that the world of business has changed post Covid.

I know what you mean, there was a time when you'd see Kernow, Cheltenham (how many times was he robbed at shows) and Rails - all that effort when they could simply do it online and do special discounts aligned with certain shows.  How much saved from hotels, theft (see Cheltenham) and re-stocking.  Then all the smaller traders who have adjusted to life online. It could be a very different set up going forward and we might have to pay more for the privilege if there is less trade.  There was also the almost expected discounting in addition to the need to discount to get revenue over other box shifters at shows.  Sometimes I notice Kernow at more than one show on the same weekend, how much strain did that put on the staff.

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5 hours ago, andyman7 said:

'Ongoing perception of risk' is an interesting way of phrasing it!

No-one knows for sure which way the beast is going to go during the autumn.  Many scientific sources suggest cases will rise but by how much is simply unquantifiable because vaccination is now in play.  But also because we don't know how long the vaccinations will be effective for.  

 

A typical attendee might be older rather than younger.  Older folk might have more underlying health issues but are also more likely to be fully vaccinated.  The cost of staging a major national event for what remains a minority hobby makes taking the financial risk a massive undertaking. 

 

Cancelling the 2021 event would not have been done lightly but being honest how many of us would actually have gone had it taken place?  All who normally do so?  Two-thirds?  Half?  Maybe fewer than half?  I don't know what sort of numbers Warley needs to break even but the exhibitors and traders also need to feel they are operating in a safe environment.  Bear in mind this means being in a hall filled with people from around the country for the greater part of a weekend, not just a few minutes.  

 

I support the decision to cancel and am happy that it has been taken now rather than later.  It's fairly late in the day already but not too late.  Commitments can be unbooked and I suspect in many cases without loss at this stage.  Had they said the show goes on but been forced to pull the plug in the days beforehand many more people - and businesses - would have lost far more.  

 

See you in '22.  

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The Mail is reporting a couple in their 70s, fully vaccinated but had been shielding due to health conditions had just died within 12 hours of each other from Covid.

 

We are far from out of the woods and news like this is going to make many wonder about attending an exhibition as a punter or working.

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6 hours ago, Graham_Muz said:

The Warley Model Railway 2021 exhibition at the NEC has been officially cancelled. It has now been booked to take place on 26-27 November 2022.

 

No surprise there.

 

 

 

4 hours ago, fezza said:

.....  Warley is practically the Olympics of the hobby.

 

The Toyko Olympics went ahead with no audience at the stadium.  I don't really see Warley getting the same international TV coverage.  ;)

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15 minutes ago, woodenhead said:

The Mail is reporting a couple in their 70s, fully vaccinated but had been shielding due to health conditions had just died within 12 hours of each other from Covid.

 

We are far from out of the woods and news like this is going to make many wonder about attending an exhibition as a punter or working.

 

And people sharing anomalous stories isn't going to help. But then I guess that's the point. 

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Sensible decision taking pressure off the exhibitors, many club helpers and associated clubs making the difficult choice. 
I’ll miss it sure, but with the uncertainty on who might turn up and the bolshy few who might ignore any precautions and be aggressive to others it’s not worth the financial or health risks. 
The sheer size of Warley means I spend the whole day there and trying to manage to see everything with any restrictions would have made it hard to get round and in November you can’t really have all the doors open for ventilation as the exhibitors near them freeze! 

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Some thoughts on this, in light of some of the posts above. My wife was a steward at the Festival of Quilts (FoQ) at the NEC a week and a bit ago, and even managed to rope me in to a bit of stewarding last Sunday. The festival is run and promoted by an events company, in association with the UK Quilters Guild, and was their first since the first lockdown last year, so a slightly different arrangement than Warley MRC which I understand organises the entire show. I felt that the NEC had taken all reasonable precautions against Covid: on entry, you had to present either evidence of double vaccination or a negative lateral flow test, mask wearing was mandatory apart from those with exemptions, tickets were for timed entry to avoid queuing/crowding and the organisers had booked an extra hall to allow exhibits and stands to be more spaced out. It felt safe to me, as someone who is clinically vulnerable and had to self isolate for three months last year.

 

On the flip side, and pertinent to Warley, was that the organisers had accepted that they would make a loss this year, but being a commercial organisation not running shows isn't really an option. This is of course very different for a club, run by volunteers. Many of the medium-sized traders had decided not to attend FoQ due to the risk of staff having to isolate, and the crippling effect this could have on their businesses post-event. That said, the larger and smaller traders were still there. I would suspect that the likes of Hattons and Rails are small enough to be concerned about the potential impact of staff attending the show being taken out of action. We all know that the traders are critical to the financial viability of model railway shows. We should also consider that FoQ was run in the "summer", a rather different proposition than a winter exhibition where the prevalence of Covid may be higher.

 

On balance, I think Warley MRC has made the right decision for this year, but equally I think we can feel more optimistic that these large events will be viable again going into next year, especially with the experience of other large indoor events that will still run this autumn and winter to draw on.

Edited by Paul C
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8 minutes ago, Phil Parker said:

 

Looking at today's anti-vax protest attacking the BBC at television centre (they moved out years ago, but hey ho) then the stewards on the door better be an armed militia if you want to impose all restrictions. I suggest this makes all shows and indeed all other indoor events impractical now and in the future. 

Being anti-vax (Are they also campaigning for the re-introduction of smallpox and polio?) does suggest a certain inability to handle cognitive complexity so noticing that Television Centre is no longer a BBC building and mainly apartments is probably well beyond them. 

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2 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

 

And people sharing anomalous stories isn't going to help. But then I guess that's the point. 

I'd argue pertinent, it is such reporting that will make anyone above 50 probably think twice about attending large gatherings of people thus making it harder to plan shows.  I'm not arguing against shows returning, just that we're not out of the woods and people are going to continue in the short term to err on the side of caution.

 

I'm looking forward to February when the 'season' starts and there are shows.

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There was a very large wargamers show held ar the NEC recently. Peopple attending were "sensible".

 

You can no longer demand that people wear face masks or face shields.  Youcan ask people to do so.  Unfortunately some people just don't give a care about others so don't wear masks and don't sanitise. 

 

BUT Covid is never going away... remember that people attending Model Railway Shows and in "normal" life before this version of CoVid died from flu. Not much worry about that in the past...

 

Our show in Leeds should take placecin October. A large hall, wide aisles and big ventilation fans should keep the air flowing. However, demanding various things to be in place for each attendee would be difficult to police and steward. We are lucky that the school we use has very well organised CoVid protection measures in place with corridors split by protective screens. The sports hall has in and out doors. If you wait until CoVid cases are zero.. you will never attend any exhibition, sport, music, museum, art gallery etc ever again.

 

Warley relies on the Club members (and other clubs members) to happen. Some people had already told the Club they would not attend this year so.. no show.. 

 

Baz

 

 

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