David Alcorn looks forward to Singapore 2016!

david-aI am honoured to be invited to speak to the delegates at the 27th CAC in Singapore this November, when Kranji Countryside Association hosted the RASC bi-annual event. Having joined RHASS in 2009, I worked within the show team – covering the livestock and competitions element – for seven shows, continually working to develop and improve our offering year on year in line with trends and changes.

Exhibitors are a key element of the Royal Highland Show – without them, the event would be unrecognisable. To be able to offer competitors what they want, particularly in terms of classification and competitions, is something which is absolutely essential for our continued success. The Royal Highland Show team achieve this by constantly looking, listening and learning to what is going on in the agricultural sector; this became my theme for the presentation I delivered: “Look, Listen and Learn: the future face your show”.

The Royal Highland Show are always open to new suggestions and ideas; not only does our diverse board of 59 Directors provide us with recommendations, but we also liaise regularly with breed societies, competitors and other knowledgeable professionals. This continued interaction ensures that we are not only classifying the correct breeds, but that we are also scheduling the right classes within each breed; for competitions (outwith the livestock sections) our advisors ensure the offering is relevant and regularly refreshed, to keep their exhibitors (and often members of the organisation they represent) coming back to the show year on year. Without this varied and informed input, the Show Team would be second guessing what the best offer could be to our competitors.

We look to other shows to see what works for them, what we would do better and ideas which we can also make use of.  The community of agricultural shows is a tight one, where little competition exists but instead a desire to ensure the success of every event. By visiting other shows and similar events, we get a chance to chat to our exhibitors in a relaxed atmosphere and glean their thoughts on our Show and how and where we can make changes and improvements.

The involvement of our stakeholders in shaping the competitions element has, over the years, meant that their promotion of the Show has been all the easier – it is much simpler for these individuals to promote our show to their own stakeholders if it is a relevant competition, offering what modern exhibitors want – if we scheduled some of the classes and competitions which were on offer in the 1960’s, there may be far fewer entries!

Continuing evolution of our competition offering has ensured we try not to miss any opportunities, and we plug any gaps which may have existed in the past. Classification is reviewed regularly and the Show is very keen on introducing new and relevant sections for which there is keen support.

The Show realises that competitors form the backbone of the event and as such we must offer a modern, relevant, dynamic Show which satisfies their ever-evolving needs and wants.