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Exhibitions where you don't know what layouts will be there....


ianmianmianm
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I'm just putting this out there - I am noticing more and more exhibitions where the names or descriptions of the layouts can't be found prior to the show. Or alternatively the exhibition doesn't even appear on the club's own website. Also swapmeets without any indication of how many traders will be there. I've seen one exhibition as well which didn't indicate how many layouts.

 

I know there are reasons for this (website logins lost etc) but this post is prompted by a really lovely show I went to where the layouts were all listed on UKMS but the listing also linked to a page which contained hyperlinks to videos of most of the layouts attending.

 

Sometimes layouts will be listed as name only with no indication of what they are.

 

I know this sometimes gets compared to going to a music event and not know what the setlist is going to be - but you go because you like the actual band. Even at a festival, you choose to go knowing most of the line-up. In contrast, Comic-Cons and sci-fi conventions often sell tickets without identifying all the guests or even if they do, whether they will be doing signings or what panels they may be on.

 

So my question is this - if you are going to an exhibition, is the location, date, and the number of layouts and traders enough to get you to go along. Or would the lack of further details dissuade you???

 

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Posted (edited)

Funnily enough the last thing I looked at on-line were two shows with no indication of numbers of layouts or traders.

 

I simply won't go.

 

It is a double edged sword for some, as announcing all the layouts etc can put a few off as they may have seen some of them before but I think this is probably minimal.

 

On the other hand, exhibitions, these days, are often a buying trip and not to announce the traders is foolish in my eyes.

 

I dare say there will be a lot of other opinions on this subject.

 

If you cant afford a website then use UK ModelShops or Facebook or here.

 

Dave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by dasatcopthorne
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4 minutes ago, ianmianmianm said:

 

 

I know this sometimes gets compared to going to a music event and not know what the setlist is going to be - but you go because you like the actual band. Even at a festival, you choose to go knowing most of the line-up. In contrast, Comic-Cons and sci-fi conventions often sell tickets without identifying all the guests or even if they do, whether they will be doing signings or what panels they may be on.

 

 

 

it's more like going to a festival & not knowing which bands are actually playing!

The cynic in me wonders if the lack of layout listings has something to do with the lack of well known visiting layouts, this seems to be a common cost cutting exercise as some clubs just substitute the visiting layouts with members layout which do not incur costs for the club?

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There's another variant that connects a bit to this. A club that has for very many years advertised multiple shows per year, each with lots of generic layouts but almost all of them are the club's own narrow board width roundie=roundies with the same Code 100 OO scale track, bright blue skies, few buildings and the same ground scenics and trees on each layout. You come out having seen 3 really good visiting layouts and 22 poor layouts that have apparently all been built by the same block and in a massive rush. 

 

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I do like it when the organiser provides a preview of the layouts expected to be there, but it's not a deal breaker if there isn't one. Any larger show will always have good layouts that I haven't seen before, and the risk that I might turn up at a smaller show and be confronted mainly with layouts I've previously seen isn't a huge issue (and, in reality, it's never happened). And, in any case, a good layout will stand repeated viewings.

 

Similarly, the precise number of layouts isn't really an issue. I can generally infer the approximate number from the entry fee and the nature of the venue for the smaller shows (and the bigger shows always make a point of saying, because that's a key part of their publicity). It can be helpful to know, because it gives me an idea of how much time I need to set aside for the visit, and, for shows that are further away, whether it justifies the travel time. But I wouldn't not go just because I don't know exactly how many layouts and traders will be there.

 

What is a deal breaker for me is the absence of any information about the show on the organiser's own website (or, at the very least, their Facebook page if they don't have a website). That's basic admin and publicity, and if the organiser can't manage that then it calls into question the rest of their organisational skills. Even if the event is actually taking place (which, of course, can't be verified if the only mention is on a show listings page), it's unlikely to be particularly well run.

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24 minutes ago, BluenGreyAnorak said:

I rarely bother to look at what layouts may be attending a show, to be honest. I work on the basis that there's bound to be something new or interesting that I haven't seen.

I certainly do look, if a list is provided (and I prefer that one is); but I agree with the second sentence very much. I know that some people will look down on the term, but this is the value of branding: I have a pretty good idea of where my local shows sit in the exhibition ecosystem, so I don't need a layout list to know what I'm likely to get at any particular one.

 

35 minutes ago, dasatcopthorne said:

On the other had, exhibitions, these days, are often a buying trip and not to announce the traders is foolish in my eyes.

I agree with this, too. I'm not averse to an impulse buy (usually some grotty second-hand wagon that I can harvest the bogies from); but if I have a big ticket purchase in mind, I want to know that I'm going to be able to get it.

 

Jim

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There was a similar thread on the subject last year (I think). The consensus, if such a thing is possible on RMweb, was that a one sentence discription for example " OO GW branch line terminus set in the 1950s" was easy to do and adequate for most people. I hope the exhibition mangers would have this information to hand, as a check that they do have a good balance of layouts. 

 

With the exception of a few well known layouts, I can't normally recall a layout just from the title so this does not impact on my decision to go. I am generally looking for a good mixture of layouts and the words "exhibition debut" will attract my attention. It is good to know the traders if you are looking for something specific that is not avilable from your local shop. 

 

This particular question does lead to another important question regarding exhibitions - what proportion of visitors are local (modellers and non-modellers) and how many travel longer distances? In the past some exhibitions have asked such questions on the best layout forms and it would be interesting to know what the results are.

 

Regards 

 

Nick 

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24 minutes ago, stivesnick said:

There was a similar thread on the subject last year (I think). The consensus, if such a thing is possible on RMweb, was that a one sentence discription for example " OO GW branch line terminus set in the 1950s" was easy to do and adequate for most people. I hope the exhibition mangers would have this information to hand, as a check that they do have a good balance of layouts. 

Almost all the exhibitors I have worked with have information about their layout, it's usually a copy/paste job. Most provide pictures, some are more for a rough idea, some are great shots that can readily be used. 

 

28 minutes ago, stivesnick said:

It is good to know the traders if you are looking for something specific that is not avilable from your local shop.  

Trader descriptions can be a bit more variable where you're dealing with smaller suppliers. How much info would you want to know about a trader? I went with just a short, headline about each one this year for Exmoor Rail.

33 minutes ago, stivesnick said:

This particular question does lead to another important question regarding exhibitions - what proportion of visitors are local (modellers and non-modellers) and how many travel longer distances? In the past some exhibitions have asked such questions on the best layout forms and it would be interesting to know what the results are.

We tried that a few times previously and generally got very few of the short forms back. It's a question I'd like to answer, along with "where did you see the show mentioned?", as it informs the advertising decisions.

 

What I will say though, is that putting this information together and posting in multiple places is far more time consuming than I ever thought it would be. When there is maybe only one organiser for a show, it's about priorities and will be tougher to do, so something has to give.

 

Regards,

Rob

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Posted (edited)

Having a list of layouts with descriptions (and likewise for traders) is nice, but I've never yet made a decision to go to an exhibition based purely on that list.

 

Dates, location, family commitments and the weather all have a much bigger impact.

 

Steven B

Edited by Steven B
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I tend to look at which traders are at a show first.  There are a handful of traders who my modelling is dependent on who don't offer online ordering.  The presence of one or more of these at a show can be all that's needed to encourage me to attend.

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Posted (edited)

Is this what people want to see?

 

 

DEMU Showcase 2024 will be at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall on June 15/16th.  

 

 

Layouts

Alderford......................................WCML 1985-1990, 00 Gauge

Blueball Summit.........................1970s West Country, N Gauge

Deadmans Lane..........................Derby RTC, 00 Gauge

Farbine Road W.R.D.....................Wagon Repair Depot West Midlands, 00 Gauge

Fenwick TMD...............................TMD and Engineers Yard, 00 Gauge

Gordon's Lane...............................Southern Region Main Line, 00 Gauge

Horncastle.................................Eastern Region  1980s, 00 Gauge

Knype Bridge................................Parcels depot. 70's early 80's, 0 Gauge

Reading Signal Works..................1980s, 00 gauge

Templegate Wagon Works..........Wagon Works, 0 Gauge

Trodinnick Dries.............................China Clay Dries. 1960-1970, 00 Gauge

Waddon Marsh...........................South London Branch, 00 Gauge

Wormhill.....................................Peak Forest 1997, N Gauge

 

Confirmed trade stands

Accurascale

Bachmann Europe

Booklaw / Santona Publishing

Cambrian Models

Cavalex Models

Coastal DCC

C Rail

DC kits

Javmar Models and Art

Kernow Model Rail Centre

Rainbow Railways

Realtrack Models

Replica Railways

Revolution Trains

Road Transport Images

S-Kits

Shawplan / Extreme Etchings

Squires Tools

TTC Diecast

West Hill Wagon Works

 

Societies

Class 60 Preservation Group

N Gauge Society

Scalefour Society

The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society

 

Demonstrations

CAD for 3D Printing
Carl White shows you how to use CAD software to design stock for 3D printing.

SR EMU Modelling
Danny Havlik shows how he has constructed some of his fantastic 4mm EMUs.

Modelling Structures in N/2mm Scale
Grahame Hedges shows you how he makes his wonderful 2mm buildings from the London Bridge Area.

Styrene Modelling
Jon Hall demonstrates the use of his Portrait cutter for cutting styrene sheet

 

Opening Times

Saturday 15th June 2024 10.00 - 17.00
Sunday 16th June 2024 10.00 - 16.00

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, Upper Clifton Rd, Sutton Coldfield, B73 6DA

 

Tickets

Adults £12

DEMU members / children (U16) £8

Families (2 adults and unlimited children) £28

 

Transport

The town hall is less than 5 minute walk from Sutton Coldfield Railway Station.

Nearest car park is opposite in Anchorage Road. There are others around the station only a few minutes walk.

 

FlyerdraftfrontforUpdate.png.8b7e951fc30c852b287819292a054721.png

Edited by Clive Mortimore
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I miss the days when I had the choice. Where I live now, there is one significant show a year. Whether layout and trader details are available or not, that's yet lot, take it or leave it. Anything else requires a transcontinental trip.

 

I actually haven't been for 6 years, but will be attending in a few weeks. I'll be interested to see if there's anything new on the layout or the trade front. Things had stagnated a bit, but maybe something has happened over the COVID years.

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My own view is coloured by the things I have done over the years.

 

I only go to a few local shows each year now.  As long as I know the dates and the venue I am content.  That's because I've been going to them for 40 or more years, I know the size of the usual venues and I know who is likely to have a layout there and which traders will usually attend.

 

At one time I was an exhibitor and since then have spent many years helping on trade stands so when I go I spend much of my time talking to people I've known for 40 years or more, sometimes I get round to looking at the layouts and buying things.

 

David

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Considering advertising your show online is easy and free with Ukmodelshops and various fora it literally only takes an hour to type up a list and send, post it in multiple places even without your own website. 
When inviting layouts asking them to send a photo for publicity purposes is easy and even if you only showcase a few of the best it might persuade some to go. 
For our shows I post pics in the weeks leading up to the show to keep the topic visible and so they may tempt some more to go. 
I am wary of a show with no listing as it usually means pretty basic levels but equally photos aren’t even necessary if you list the name as you can usually find them on YouTube or a search for images. 
I’ve gone to shows just to see one layout and consider the rest a bonus. I’ve also gone to shows and wondered why I bothered because there’s no variety, either in quality or in one case subject. Ten near identical 8ft long OO steam branchlines isn’t particularly interesting unless the quality is exceptional. I’ve been to some excellent shows with only 8-10 layouts and found that quality repeated over many visits. 

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18 minutes ago, Clive Mortimore said:

Is this what people want to see?

 

 

DEMU Showcase 2024 will be at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall on June 15/16th.  

 

 

Layouts

Alderford......................................WCML 1985-1990, 00 Gauge

Blueball Summit.........................1970s West Country, N Gauge

Deadmans Lane..........................Derby RTC, 00 Gauge

Farbine Road W.R.D.....................Wagon Repair Depot West Midlands, 00 Gauge

Fenwick TMD...............................TMD and Engineers Yard, 00 Gauge

Gordon's Lane...............................Southern Region Main Line, 00 Gauge

Horncastle.................................Eastern Region  1980s, 00 Gauge

Knype Bridge................................Parcels depot. 70's early 80's, 0 Gauge

Reading Signal Works..................1980s, 00 gauge

Templegate Wagon Works..........Wagon Works, 0 Gauge

Trodinnick Dries.............................China Clay Dries. 1960-1970, 00 Gauge

Waddon Marsh...........................South London Branch, 00 Gauge

Wormhill.....................................Peak Forest 1997, N Gauge

 

Confirmed trade stands

Accurascale

Bachmann Europe

Booklaw / Santona Publishing

Cambrian Models

Cavalex Models

Coastal DCC

C Rail

DC kits

Javmar Models and Art

Kernow Model Rail Centre

Rainbow Railways

Realtrack Models

Replica Railways

Revolution Trains

Road Transport Images

S-Kits

Shawplan / Extreme Etchings

Squires Tools

TTC Diecast

West Hill Wagon Works

 

Societies

Class 60 Preservation Group

N Gauge Society

Scalefour Society

The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society

 

Demonstrations

CAD for 3D Printing
Carl White shows you how to use CAD software to design stock for 3D printing.

SR EMU Modelling
Danny Havlik shows how he has constructed some of his fantastic 4mm EMUs.

Modelling Structures in N/2mm Scale
Grahame Hedges shows you how he makes his wonderful 2mm buildings from the London Bridge Area.

Styrene Modelling
Jon Hall demonstrates the use of his Portrait cutter for cutting styrene sheet

 

Opening Times

Saturday 15th June 2024 10.00 - 17.00
Sunday 16th June 2024 10.00 - 16.00

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, Upper Clifton Rd, Sutton Coldfield, B73 6DA

 

Tickets

Adults £12

DEMU members / children (U16) £8

Families (2 adults and unlimited children) £28

 

Transport

The town hall is less than 5 minute walk from Sutton Coldfield Railway Station.

Nearest car park is opposite in Anchorage Road. There are others around the station only a few minutes walk.

 

FlyerdraftfrontforUpdate.png.8b7e951fc30c852b287819292a054721.png

 

Yes Clive

 

That is exactly the sort of thing that I would like to see, although I would be even happier if every layout indicated a rough time period for the layout.  I know DEMU does narrow the field down somewhat - say about 120 years out of 220 years that mechanically driven  railways have been about.  😁

 

@ianmianmianm

I completely agree and raised a similar post a year or so ago.  Even the BRM organised shows only have a list of layouts and scales and no information - no matter how brief - about the layout: the sort of thing that @Clive Mortimore has shown above.  I got a bit of stick from some posters until I pointed out that attending a UK show was a £500 decision for me with flights to the UK and hotels.  So in answer to you question; no information = no chance I will attend.

 

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20 minutes ago, DaveF said:

My own view is coloured by the things I have done over the years.

 

I only go to a few local shows each year now.  As long as I know the dates and the venue I am content.  That's because I've been going to them for 40 or more years, I know the size of the usual venues and I know who is likely to have a layout there and which traders will usually attend.

 

Not quite 40 years for me, but in the same vein, my regular local shows will get my custom every year provided I know where and when and the date doesn't clash with another commitment. Similarly for the two or three big shows I'll travel further afield for each year. Because I've been going to them enough times to trust that the organisers know what they're doing and will put on a good show.

 

But for a new show, that I've never been to before, I'd need more information before deciding whether to make the trip (unless it's really, really local and I've got nothing else on that weekend and I feel like just dropping in on the off-chance). And the further away it is (and the bigger it is) the more I'd need to know before deciding whether to go.

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3 minutes ago, Andy Hayter said:

 

Yes Clive

 

That is exactly the sort of thing that I would like to see, although I would be even happier if every layout indicated a rough time period for the layout.  I know DEMU does narrow the field down somewhat - say about 120 years out of 220 years that mechanically driven  railways have been about.  😁

 

@ianmianmianm

I completely agree and raised a similar post a year or so ago.  Even the BRM organised shows only have a list of layouts and scales and no information - no matter how brief - about the layout: the sort of thing that @Clive Mortimore has shown above.  I got a bit of stick from some posters until I pointed out that attending a UK show was a £500 decision for me with flights to the UK and hotels.  So in answer to you question; no information = no chance I will attend.

 

The sorts of exhibitions with so little information are likely to be smaller exhbitions and the ones you are least likely to visit in anycase if you are travelling in from France.

 

All the medium to large shows have a wealth of information about what will be there, either on their own dedicated web page or on a site such a RMWeb.  This particular part of the forum is full of details on upcoming shows.

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I accept that small show may have no information but I am not sure that the BRM style "Blogg Street - 00" takes me much further unless I remember it from a magazine.  I can at least count the number of layouts and see which traders are present - which takes the OP a step forward.  

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5 minutes ago, woodenhead said:

The sorts of exhibitions with so little information are likely to be smaller exhbitions and the ones you are least likely to visit in anycase if you are travelling in from France.

 

 

It very much depends on circumstance. I lived in Bermuda for 2 years and came over for specific weeks every year to do some work projects. The work projects effectively paid for my flight and accommodation and therefore financed my ability to get home 2 or 3 times a year but the dates were not picked by me. I would try and attend a show on either side of that working week but that may well have involved landing at Gatwick on a Saturday morning and heading up to the relevant show on the train. Shows also functioned as a buying event for me to save on shipping, wharfage and customs agency costs on mail order. So I absolutely wanted to know that those shows were worth me going to and ideally needed to know that a bit in advance to be able to book a train ticket and hotel at a low price. 

 

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3 hours ago, robk said:

We tried that a few times previously and generally got very few of the short forms back. It's a question I'd like to answer, along with "where did you see the show mentioned?", as it informs the advertising decisions.

 

What might be worth trying, in order to both encourage responses and minimise the admin work of collating the responses, is to put the questionnaire online and simply provide a URL and QR code to visitors (in the show guide, if you supply one) for them to access it. It might even be worth incentivising responses by offering something in return for completed online forms, such as a voucher for reduced price admission next year or entry into a prize draw.

 

It would be more work to set up in advance than just using a printed form, but it would be hugely less work afterwards analysing the responses.

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Just now, ianmianmianm said:

It very much depends on circumstance. I lived in Bermuda for 2 years and came over for specific weeks every year to do some work projects. The work projects effectively paid for my flight and accommodation and therefore financed my ability to get home 2 or 3 times a year but the dates were not picked by me. I would try and attend a show on either side of that working week but that may well have involved landing at Gatwick on a Saturday morning and heading up to the relevant show on the train. Shows also functioned as a buying event for me to save on shipping, wharfage and customs agency costs on mail order. So I absolutely wanted to know that those shows were worth me going to and ideally needed to know that a bit in advance to be able to book a train ticket and hotel at a low price. 

 

But are you talking now or in the past, because the days of little information on shows has passed for those of a size beyond a postage stamp.

 

I would imagine any show that does not list it's layouts and traders close to the day are probably not going to have much trade support and only a few layouts.  Exhibition managers go to a reasonable amount of effort to show what will be on display and also to advertise trade as that is important to peope too.  Some show threads do begin with just an outline such as 35 layouts and 20+ traders because not all the spaces have been filled and then as time progresses the exhibition manager fills in the gaps.  I would imagine this is because first they set the date, the venue and the space available and then they look to fill it and perhaps not all potential exhibits can confirm a year in advance so the list is fluid until a couple of months (or even less) before the show.

 

On the seperate topic of descriptions - many exhibition layouts can be found on the web, so a search of exhibits at a show on Google usually turns up a few examples of what the layout looks like and where it has been before.

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7 hours ago, BluenGreyAnorak said:

I rarely bother to look at what layouts may be attending a show, to be honest. I work on the basis that there's bound to be something new or interesting that I haven't seen.

Very much agree with this, in the past have travelled to see a STAR layout, only to be disappointed, a small local show can often turn up, to me, a real gem, visiting a show is more a trip out with mates.

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Being one of those who builds funny foreign layouts means I prefer to know exactly what is going to be at a show before making the effort to attend. Even then there may only be a couple of direct interest but I never discount the possibility of stumbling across something that catches my eye. As for obvious repeats such as local branch lines or a diesel depot where there may be half a dozen of each, I can't really say I'd be entertained because all I'd be doing is comparing one to another. 

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