FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
LAMMA – Lincolnshires Agricultural Machinery
Manufacturer Associations annual event appears to
have struck the right formula. Mike Williams reports
WHILE some of the long established agricultural shows face an uncertain future due to shrinking attendance figures and rising costs, the 18-year old LAMMA machinery show is going from strength to strength.
When the first of the LAMMA shows was held in 1982 it attracted an estimated 1000 visitors, but since then the attendance figures have risen steadily to reach a record-breaking 10,000 last year.
At the same time standholder numbers have doubled from the original 100 or so when the show started, forcing a shift from the original venue at the Lincolnshire showground to a more spacious home at Newark, Notts.
LAMMA is the Lincolnshire Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Association, established in 1981 to promote farm equipment made by Lincs based companies. The show, held for the first time in the following year, was a shop window for the Associations members, offering Lincolnshire farmers an opportunity to see locally made machinery.
But the show has a winning formula, and the county based approach was soon outgrown as it expanded into a regional event, attracting increasing numbers of both exhibitors and visitors from further afield.
Now, it seems, LAMMA could be on the brink of going national, according to John Marshall, former agricultural machinery lecturer who is now the Associations secretary.
Mr Marshall helped form the original LAMMA committee in 1981, and admits that the founder members never expected the show to grow so rapidly.
"Last year we added JCB, New Holland and Massey Ferguson to our exhibitors list for the first time, and these are all national companies," he says. "We are also attracting visitors from much further afield, and not just from the East Midlands area, and it is starting to become a national event.
"The move to Newark has helped. The Lincolnshire showground was ideal for a county event, but now we need the extra space which is available at the Newark showground, and being just off the A1 makes it a much better location for people travelling a long distance.
"But expansion does not mean we have lost our original objective of being the shop window to promote equipment built in Lincolnshire – its just bigger."
Another original aim which has not altered is the shows no-frills policy, and this has been an important factor in the LAMMA success story, insists Mr Marshall. Parking and admission are both free, and this means farmers are not discouraged from coming to the show if they have only an hour or so to spare, he says. *
Expensive stands and hospitality for visitors are excluded by LAMMAs no-frills approach.