Jump to content
  • Confor Woodland Show keeps up with the times

    MORE than 2000 visitors and 150 exhibitors from across the UK descended on Longleat for the 2017 Confor Woodland Show.


    Organisers of the two-day trade show, with a focus on forestry and rural issues, reported strong visitor numbers and a good level of trade inquiries thanks to a high-quality, well-informed audience.


    The Confor Woodland Show has been taking place at Longleat Estate since 2009. Previously held at Exeter Racecourse, the Southwest Woodland Show (as it was previously known) was looking for a venue more central for both the South West and South East which could attract a wider exhibitor and visitor base.


    Longleat, with its incredible history in forestry and international reputation, was the perfect choice and has seen the show growing from a regional one-day event to a two-day trade show bringing exhibitors from all over the UK to Wiltshire.


    The show is organised by forestry trade body Confor, which represents more than 1500 forestry and timber businesses, from tree nurseries to sawmills.


    “Longleat is a wonderful venue and thanks to increased promotion of the show through social media, we attracted a more diverse audience this year,” said Confor’s Communications Manager Stefanie Kaiser.


    “In particular, the presence of young visitors, either in groups or in company of family and friends, was striking. The weather wasn’t too kind, but visitor numbers held up very well.”


    Confor has been pushing the message of farm forestry and was pleased to see increased interest from farmers this year. Debates in the Confor tent were very well-attended, including an event called Brexit: Opportunity or Catastrophe.


    “Brexit is a big issue for all rural sectors, including foresters and farmers, and there was some very feisty debate,” said Stuart Goodall, Confor chief executive.


    The event also had plenty of opportunities for hands-on activity, including archery and the opportunity to experience a 360-degree virtual reality forest environment. Students from Cannington College enjoyed measuring their strength by holding a heavy chain saw at arm’s length. The show was a great opportunity for young people to get an insight into the career opportunities available in forestry.


    There was also a chance to marvel at chainsaw carving and to buy locally-made wooden products, including trugs and baskets, which sold out in record-time.

     

    DSC_0275 2.jpg


    In addition, there was a range of valuable practical advice on business development, occupational health, equipment maintenance, health and safety and other relevant topics.


    “We had more than 50 companies joining the show for the first time and hopefully, many lasting business relationships were created,” said Ms Kaiser. “Longleat continues to support the show and I am delighted that we will be back again in 2019.”


    The show would not have been possible without the help of staff and contractors, volunteers and the sponsors Tilhill, Euroforest, Aspen Fuel, Abbey Forestry, Fountains Forestry and Soil Association.



      Report Record
    Sign in to follow this  

    User Feedback




    It was good to launch the Panther mills at the CONFOR show but have to say I don't see how a show like this is sustainable with a high cost to exhibit and such a low turnout of visitors. Thursday was less than quiet, Friday was very quiet. No one seems to 'say it like it is' with organisers afterwards congratulating themselves on yet another good event. You can only assume there must be good money on holding a show like this - but precious little in attending it. I spoke to a lot of the other exhibitors their are sentiment was the same - there ain't no one here!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have only been to this show once Rob and yes it was very quiet.  It did rain all day which didn't help though.  It was also a very different crowd to the usual, definetly more forestry biased.  The APF is supposed to be forestry but has a large Arb attendance compared to Confor.  All down to location I guess?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Not sure - I was more just looking at how a show is written up afterwards... each and everytime it is always a success! But to have 150 exhibitors and 2000 visitors is just crazy - you see all that gear and equipment set up with no one there to really look at it...

     

    There is probably only the numbers for one arb/forestry show in the UK each year IMO.

     

    It would be good just to see a fresh approach to shows and fresh objectives - at the moment this sort of show appears to be a money making exercise to keep the coffers topped up until the APF next year.

     

    Why not target foresters and arb companies and offer them free entry and free burger and beer or similar? Rather than charging for entry? Issue tickets out to this effect and at least start to get the numbers up..

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Could be wrong in all this mind you  - does anyone know where you can look at CONFOR accounts or get a break down of show costs/show income? Google does not seem to have much...

     

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Yes it is a nice location  and yes agree the numbers where down , I expected a lot more people there  I was in the wood workers corner most of the day there where several visitors coming in asking questions and looking 

    the one thing I did notice was the smaller percentage of hand forestry tools 

    plenty of huge priced equipment 

     

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    As a visitor to any show, particularly a 'trade' show (not a county fair, but some same rules apply), location is a factor, weather too, as are exhibitors that YOU wish/need to see. Toilets and food also come in to the equation. If all these align, then you will have a good show! But while you are there, you ain't cutting! If you aren't cutting, you aren't earning.......

     

    As an exhibitor at a trade show, I too would want the above. But, I am there to sell. I have a lot of costs to meet in being there with transport, staff, accommodation, food/drink AND, I'm not selling elsewhere because I am at the show. If no one comes to buy my wares then I doubt I'll go next year and if we all have the same opinion - you end up with an empty field!

     

    A modern show is a fund raiser for the organisers just as much as it is a sales event. They want exhibitors and potential customers to meet to have a good show and us (the exhibitor) to come next year as well as you to pay to get in. It swells their coffers.

     

    What I am eluding to is; support your industry, whether it be Arb or Forestry, Conversion or burning, planting or felling. Go to these shows, make new acquaintances/renew old ones, talk about your industry and join trade associations, go to the seminars and buy stuff (don't ask for extra discount as we paid more than you to be there!). If the shows die and we all hunker down to online trading and YouTube demonstrations, it will be a sorrier world.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Some of us have been going to these shows now for 20 years Pete, its hard to keep things interesting from the organisers perspective I guess.  There is precious little these days that is particularly new and innovative.  Everything is just a rehash of whats come before, slightly improved in some cases.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I agree Steve, I have been going as an exhibitor since the late 90's and as a visitor to the APF since Trentham Gardens and the wheel is still round! But it needs a collective effort from both  Exhibitors and Visitors to make it worthwhile. The numbers of visitors is immaterial to me, but the number of buyers/spenders that matter.

     

    I know that the demographic of our particular buyer being a visitor is slim at a show but if there is a vibrancy about a show then we smile. If the view is it wasn't worth going to, then perhaps we won't bother next time and then the next time it comes up, the visitors moan that there was nothing to see.

     

    Our budget for shows isn't huge by any stretch but it is still a chunk of money (last year we spent £150 on pork scratchings for visitors to pick at!) but if the show enquiries are down then we look at where else we could spend that budget. That equation is the same for us, John Deere, FR Jones et al. (Stihl spent an estimated £80k on their Saltex stand last year)

     

    Perhaps the question should be asked of the visitors and spenders - what would like to see at a trade show? What would entice you to come and support us? 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Yep it is easy to critise without offering some ideas - hence it would good to see the actual figures from these shows as to what the net profit is after costs... I expect the arguement would be if no entry fee was charged then more of the public would come in for a mooch about... but is that a bad thing? Some of them may buy a few bits and pieces or learn something new that leads to better awareness of the industry.

     

    Pete it's been a long long time since I went to a show with 'vibrancy' and that's my point (the AA show was supposed to be good this year though apparently) - they need to bring in fresh blood fresh ideas and stop the box ticking IMO.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Let me give you an example as to why I'll never do the CONFOR show again - we shared a stand with Loglogic - they are designing and building the new Panther mills. To have both out contact details on the programme they wanted an extra £135-00+vat!? Just to have another phone number on there.... crazy!

     

    That sums up the organisers attitude in my mind - there is no feel good factor, no one for all all for one feeling - sad but true. 5 years ago at the same show they made a right hash of delivering logs to the stand... I said I'd never do it again then!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now


About

Arbtalk.co.uk is a hub for the arboriculture industry in the UK.  
If you're just starting out and you need business, equipment, tech or training support you're in the right place.  If you've done it, made it, got a van load of oily t-shirts and have decided to give something back by sharing your knowledge or wisdom,  then you're welcome too.
If you would like to contribute to making this industry more effective and safe then welcome.
Just like a living tree, it'll always be a work in progress.
Please have a look around, sign up, share and contribute the best you have.

See you inside.

The Arbtalk Team

Follow us

×