The Landscaper Magazine speaks with Chris Bassett, event director at GroundsFest
How long has Groundsfest been in planning and what was the motivation for launching this event?
The idea of GroundsFest has been an idea we’ve had for several years. Initially, it was going to be a smaller event for a handful of companies. We were then contacted by more companies so we felt there was a real demand for an event of this kind and so we made the idea a reality.
Quite simply, the motivation behind launching GroundsFest was because it is an event the industry has been waiting for – both from an exhibitor and a visitor point of view. GroundsFest has been created based on extensive research and independent surveys. The results show that September is the most favoured time of year and that a mix of both indoor space and outdoor demonstrations is the preferred format.
Who within industry is it set to attract?
GroundsFest will be an event for the whole industry – a one-stop-shop. It will attract landscapers, contractors, grounds staff, greenkeepers, local authorities, estate managers, and many more. We’ve already been really pleased to see so many different types of visitors interested in the event and several hundred have already signed-up to our visitor newsletter which will keep everyone updated to what to expect.
Another huge positive is the wide variety of exhibitors that have already committed to GroundsFest. We have machinery companies keen to demonstrate their products, we have several seed and nutritional companies; and various exhibitors representing commercial vehicles and tyres, irrigation and drainage equipment, sand and rootzone, linemarking, play equipment, weeds and pest control, recruitment. We also have companies signing up that stopped attending other industry events.
What is your USP?
The industry can expect features they have never seen at a UK groundscare event. As well as seeing products in action and trying them out for themselves, there is going to be some great hands-on, interactive features. For example, there will be live working stations where visitors can find out the latest trial data and many more. There will be a service workshop where a leading expert will be on hand to tell you how to maintain and get the best out of your equipment. Also, look out for many other practical workstations which are designed to enhance an individual’s knowledge and skillset.
GroundsFest will also provide a free education programme with an accredited training provider, a wellbeing hub – which will provide information, advice, and guidance about emotional and mental wellbeing; and of course, there is the festival which will prove to be an excellent networking opportunity after the event.
From an exhibitor point of view, GroundsFest is providing exhibitors with a blank page. It is their space, and they can use it however they choose to. We’ve already heard of some brilliant, and creative ideas from many exhibitors. Whether exhibitors want to demonstrate a product, showcase new equipment, present findings from trial work or research, raise brand awareness or even host a barbecue on their stand – GroundsFest allows for so many possibilities.
Do you feel that there might be cross over and/or too many shows for people to choose from, from both the point of view of exhibitors and visitors?
Exhibitors will always choose to be at the events which work best for them. We absolutely understand that there is a significant cost associated with exhibiting at an event and we have reflected this in our very competitive pricing structure. This opens the doors for a much wider range of companies. From a visitor point of view, in our experience, visitors like to attend more than just one event. They build communities, nurture collaboration, enable visitors to enhance their careers and facilitate relationships that last.
GroundsFest will be a completely different experience to the other industry shows. Other events are held indoors during the winter. In comparison GroundsFest is a summer event with a mix of indoor and outdoor space.
What is it that you think visitors are looking for when they visit trade shows?
Enhancing a visitor’s experience at a trade show is exactly what we are aiming for. We’ve listened to what visitors want to see in a show and will be aiming to make it happen. GroundsFest will be an event where those in a management position can bring the whole team along with them and with that in mind, we will have seminars, features and work stations that will benefit everyone. We want GroundsFest to engage and strike a chord with those who are new to the industry but also to those who are interested in a career in the industry. We will also be working with local schools and colleges to provide a career day, which gives them the opportunity to find out more about this amazing industry.
We are working extremely hard behind the scenes and have so many exciting plans to announce.
Watch this space for all the latest news by following our social channels @GroundsFest and visiting groundsfest.com