23 Jul 2024


Storms prompt new dates for Southern Manufacturing show

Following storm-related disruption to the Southern Manufacturing & Electronics Show in two of the past three years, its organisers have announced that it will be held later in the year from 2017. The show is vulnerable to severe weather because it is held in temporary marquees at its site in Farnborough, Hampshire.

From next year the show will move from its traditional early February timing to 21–23 March. The organisers predict that the new dates will also lead to a further increase in visitor numbers.

The decision to reschedule the event comes in response to the UK’s increasingly unpredictable winter weather patterns. The new dates move the event to a period when the weather is usually more benign, “making it less vulnerable to the extreme cold, floods or wind that have become a feature of the British winter”.

The build-up for this year’s show coincided with the arrival of Storm Imogen, forcing a delay, with some exhibitors having to work overnight to set up their stands. “When faced with 60 to 70mph gusts, the safety of everyone on-site becomes an absolute priority,” says the show’s director, Phil Valentine.

“The unpredictable winter weather did add some additional challenges to the set-up of the show,” adds the venue director, Michael Watton, “but we worked closely with the organisers to ensure that build-up and show days went off with as little disruption as possible.

The rescheduling of the show to March also moves it away from other sensitive timings in early February, including half-term holidays and the unpopularity for many of being away from home on 14 February.

“Our exhibitors have greeted the news of the change of dates with universal approval, prompting record re-bookings for 2017,” Valentine reports. “This year’s show attracted well over 8,600 visitors, which is itself a new record and vindicates our choice of the site over other Southern venues. With greater accessibility and local infrastructure near completion, we anticipate a further significant increase in visitor numbers for 2017”.