16 January 1998

MOVING TO A BIGGER HOME

HAVING outgrown its traditional Lincoln site, the Lincolnshire Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Associations annual event (LAMMA) takes place this year at a new location – Newark.

It will mark a big change for an event which first saw the light of day 15 years ago in 1982. Show chairman, Ron Barstow, sees the move as heralding a new start for the show.

"As the event has grown over the years we have been forced to find more and more space," he says. "This resulted in last years event being spread over widely spaced halls, which is not very satisfactory. The Newark site is over three times larger and has halls in a more compact area."

Even so, Mr Barstow is sad to leave what was the Lincolnshire base for a Lincolnshire show. "LAMMA has always been an event for the countys machinery manufacturers. In the beginning it was just that, a no-frills event which allowed even the smallest manufacturer to present his wares to his customers."

And it is a concept that his show team has not lost sight of, even though it now attracts exhibitors from almost all the UK.

"The show continues to expand, but we always try to give preference to Lincs-based manufacturers. The first show attracted about 40 manufacturers and 2000 visitors. This year we have well over 100 exhibitors and expect 5000 or more visitors."

But along with expansion comes a word of caution from Mr Barstow. "There comes a time with any business when it moves from being a relatively small operation to being a large one.

"LAMMA is somewhere between the two and provides an enormous amount of work for the organisers, who, in the main, have other occupations to pursue. If we continue to expand it could mean having to pay for full-time organisers, which would alter the whole scale of things."

In the meantime, Mr Barstow feels the event is just about right and one held at the right time of the year. He believes it always has been, and remains, a purely business show which provides visitors with a chance to see some of the latest machinery developments, and a good chance to discuss finer details with the manufacturers.

As for visitors ever paying an entrance fee he is quite adamant they will not have to. "The LAMMA event presents itself as a shop window for manufacturers and you dont expect to pay to enter a shop, do you?" he says.

Ron Barstow