The only place a West Midlands club is going to stage a show is the West Midlands. (How do the club members working at the show get home to their beds?) In the absence of an "official" national event staged by a national body , which in theory could be moved to whereever in the country seemed appropriate, the reality is that each major region will have one really big show with national reach , staged by a local group , and one of these will emerge as the country's "premier" show
The one thing no-one has mentioned is cost. I don't know how much EXCEL costs, but I'm willing to bet that the cost per squ ft is going to be significantly higher than the terms Warley get out of the NEC. "Significantly higher" could mean anywhere from 25% to 300% more. A new facility in inner London is bound to cost more than hiring one of the NEC's part depreciated 70s tin sheds in the countryside outside Birmingham
I've never tried hiring a major London venue myself and I'm not likely to so I don't know the costs involved. But it's a fact that nobody has ever tried staging a big model railway exhibition at either Olympia or Earl's Court , or even mooted the idea. Wembley has been tried and very rapidly discarded - I did hear once that price might have been an issue. The Model Engineer Exhibition used to be at Olympia , but has moved to Ally Pally I believe , so presumably they couldn't afford Olympia .... Apprenently someone once looked at GMEX in Manchester for a show and the money they wanted was staggering
I'd be very surprised if EXCEL's charges are significantly less than their main competitors , Earls Court & Olympia . On another forum someone said that one of the main factors in the demise of the old London show was that the then venue (RHS Horticultural Halls) put the hire up by a factor of 2 or 3 and no economically viable replacement could be found
I don't know what Warley charge traders at the NEC or what Warners charge at Ally Pally (and I'm not sure I want to). But as traders both dbclass50 and pedromorgan would be very sensitive to the implications of a show trying to get traders to pay 50% higher charges than those currently being offered,allied to a 50% hike in the admission charges and a resulting sharp reduction in the gate- and my guess is that if you went to somewhere like Earls Court/Olympia/ EXCEL , that's the sort of extra cost that would be factored in. It's been a struggle getting small traders to London shows for 20 years and to judge by the list of traders at Reading instead of Warley, even Warley has some problems. York, using a racecourse in a provincial town, must have the lowest venue costs - and guess which show does best at attracting small traders...
Go to a much more expensive venue and the economics of a big show collapse. I get the impression the costs involved already make mounting a viable large model railway exhibition in London a bit of a struggle : a significant hike in venue costs and I reckon there would be no big show south of Coventry
In that sense car parking , access , facilities and the rest are irrelevant. The hobby simply couldn't afford to use those facilities. Britain has limited exhibition facilties, they are small, old, and expensive, and in view of the cost of land and political pressures against improving quality of life in the regions where most people live, it isnt going to get better
But the difficulties of getting about London do seem to be exaggerated . Ally Pally arguably has better rail links than the NEC (I've stood in a 4 car Voyager after the Clothes Show has tipped out and Coventry have played at home) and from all I've heard visitors to Ally Pally get home by road without much trouble . There's also an airport in Docklands and the DLR runs down the back of Excel . But as I say , that's irrelevant if the cost of the venue is prohibitive. Someone on another forum quoted
QUOTE I agree that the "show within a hall" was not good for the atmosphere and if the truth be said neither were the wider isles this year. For all the complaints Warley get about overcrowding they got very few if any in the past about a lack of atmosphere. Having gone for the wider isles everybody is now saying the atmosphere was flat! It seems the exhibition organisers cannot win!
So many of these things are trade-offs, sometimes awkward onesn, and not the simple improvements that outsiders like to claim. For my money , Warley actually called this one right - you probably lost more visitors through the perception of an unpleasant crush than you'll lose by a reduction in "buzz" in the hall. But it isn't a "win-win" situation
The one thing that might be done in terms of atmosphere is to take the show right back to the walls and not push it into the body of the hall with low screens