The headline says it all for this story I’m afraid, once again Smithfield faces an uncertain future after a show board meeting yesterday decided to cancel this year’s event due to lack of trade stand and sponsorship support.
According to Alice Bell of RASE it has been impossible to find sufficient financial support within the sector to run the event successfully and the decision has been made to cancel this year’s show, with the long-term outlook seemingly bleak too.
Looking ahead Miss Bell said RASE and the Royal Smithfield Club intended to continue working together to find a suitable event for the future. “However, while we will look to work together in future, there is no plan for an event in the same format in future years. What is clear to us is that this model is sustainable for the event.
“We either have to find a way of generating a higher income from the event or cut costs, neither of which will be easy without irrevocably changing the nature of the event.”
But she defended RASE’s role in the situation and said any suggestions that RASE had now killed Smithfield after killing the Royal Show were unfounded. “The two are completely different events and had different challenges. The principle behind AgriLIVE is still strong, whereas the issues behind the Royal were far greater.”
Royal Smithfield Club chairman John Campbell said the club was disappointed to be making this decision. “The reality is that running a high quality event including large livestock classes is costly. We had hoped this format would be able to support these costs, but unfortunately this has not been the case.”
Of course there will be the usual mudslinging about where the blame lies and I don’t think anyone is in any doubt about which of the two organisations bore responsibility for selling trade space and securing sponsorship.
Bu the bigger question is where do we go from here?