End of the Royal Show

The Royal Show will be closing its doors for the final time this year, organisers have announced. This year’s show, held at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire from 7-10 July, will be the final event after the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) said the event was no longer economically viable.

In a letter sent to members of the RASE this week, chairman of trustees, Hugh Oliver-Bellasis, said that the decision had been a real challenge but the response to the show in recent years left the society with little option.

“In the aftermath of the Foot and Mouth disaster in 2001 closely followed by very bad weather two years ago and Blue Tongue last year, the event has struggled – both financially and in its ability to attract both farming and non-farming visitors.

“The Royal Show has been unique, in its international as well as its local influence, as an agricultural summer event. Today’s dire worldwide economic crisis is an added challenge, thus the Trustees have concluded that the Royal Show is no longer economically viable.”

He said RASE will create a new programme of events from 2010 onwards that develops and enhances the reputation of the RASE and that the society would redouble its efforts to ensure it remains a relevant organisation for the 21st Century.

“We are now working very hard to extract the best and most appropriate elements of the Royal Show - those which may be the foundation for individual technical events, or which could be grafted on to existing events.

“There are key elements of the Royal Show which we believe offer genuine opportunities going forward such as equine, smallholdings and horticulture, our traditional livestock classes and education.

“We don’t want people to dwell on the demise of the Royal Show, but focus on the innovative events that RASE will deliver in 2010 and beyond. We want them to see this moment as a watershed; the beginning of feeling re-engaged with a society that not only listens, but also hears the call of its audience.”

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