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Tuesday 10 October 2017

Derby Worlds 2017- A traders view.

Last weekend saw the latest incarnation of the Derby World Wargames- now called "DerbyWorlds"  at the new venue of Bruntingthorpe in the middle of Rural Leicestershire.
 The high trade stand price (20% rise on last year)  gave me to decide on a smaller stand and only take the 15mm lines- which currently outsell 25/28mm by almost two to one. Customers could of course pre-order anything we  have in stock of whatever size- so chaps orders 10mm and 25mm and even some 40mm - without these pre-orders  we would have been dead and buried. Most of the other traders I spoke to said the same.
 Now I doubt not that other bloggers will heap coals of fire upon the heads of the organisers - and yes some are possibly deserved - but equally some are not.
Bruntingthorpe is 10 miles away from almost everything  but once you get there it is not a bad venue at all. I've been in worse many times- any sweaty jock-strap and wee wee smelling sports hall for a start. In theory access was pretty good and unlike some we had no problem unloading on Friday. Though loading up at shows end was a bit like wacky races.

 Blaming the actual venue  for a poor show is of course nonsense the venue problems were all caused by the show organisers- well the new one anyhow. You can't get a quart into a pint pot. This venue was about 30% smaller than Donnington yet  the same or greater numbers of Traders games and competitions were shoe horned in- like a fat bird trying to get into a size 10 frock.  So the show was cramped and oversubscribed for the size of the venue- not the fault of the venue. Lighting was a bit average but at least part of that was caused by the overcrowding and the height of some traders advertising banners.
 Trade was not exactly brisk but over the whole weekend we did OK but no more than that. Frankly not awful for a new show in a new venue- which despite its ancestry this event was.  Catering was well above normal show standards  but as is often the case at these "event venues" not exactly cheap. Mind you the roast pork butties were excellent..

 My biggest bitch with the whole affair was the tone and attitude of  Kaiser Rushforth Ltd- who now seem to own the event.- It was they I paid my stand fee to rather than as previously Derby Wargames Associates. It was obvious from the printed show guide that this event was no longer the Derby World Wargames - to present a showcase for the whole hobby- but rather a showcase foe the owning company to promote their view of the hobby and to make a few quid(nothing wrong with that last bit but  the tone wasn't half laying it on a bit thick) Indeed I'd go further the whole tone of the organisers emails was rather like a workshop junkie on speed - continually telling we traders how exciting it all was and how wonderful it all would be- as if they were trying to convince themselves or manipulate us and the customers.- and assuming we were all 10 year old boys. I could small the  patronising corporate BS  from some distance. Not only was it slightly unpleasant it was not needed.
 None of that really impinged upon the actual show but may have helped to make it rather less than it should have been.
 However taking the show as a new event with the associated teething problems of such then overall it was not too bad sort of a 5 out of 10 maybe a 6 - just(the last point for the Pork Butties alone really)

Will I go back- probably . Will I take a larger more expensive stand- no chance. We will stick to a smaller stand and take only 15mm lines for the day sales. Other sizes will once again need to be pre-ordered..
 Do the organisers need to up their game? Damn right they do for the wedge that the traders and the punters are putting out somebody needs to be less patronising and a little bit smarter.
 We'll see what next year brings


  1. At the limit of my going to show view of third change of location,I didn't bother
    It's a shame but it lost its USP when they were forced to move from the Uni site.
    Bet you didn't miss the nnnnnnneeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaw sounds coming from the race track?

    1. Dave I certainly did miss the cars. Donnington was a cracking venue. with added Vrooome. When I got bored I used to nip out and watch the Ford Gt's and the Porsches or the motorbikes.... Lovely and so different from little metal men.

  2. Vendors shouldn't have to bear the brunt of paying for the cost of the convention. At least in the USA, the traders are one of the things that draws participants in the show.

  3. Over here the traders tend to pay sometimes quite high fees- my smaller 12 foot stand for the 2 trading days at this show cost me £300.00. Of the shows I do only Salute will be more expensive- and the stand there will be significantly bigger with a lot more back space to move around in. Indeed one trader told me he had worked out the "square foot" rate for Derby as more expensive than Salute.
    Most of the other shows I do are not so dear.
    Vapnartak in York for instance costs me only 2/3rds of the derby rate for a stand twice as large. It is only a 1 day event but the average turnover is roughly in the same ballpark as Derby Worlds was this year. A smaller club show such as Carronade in Falkirk costs me only 1/3rd of the derby rste for a stand twice as large with the 1 day turnover being about half or a little more than derby.
    so it is all about what you expect from each event. Mt Derby worlds expectations were deliberately set a little low this year as I treated it as a new show and I wasn't disappointed. Indeed by the end it was as I said OK.

  4. It's a show I might attend next year, time off work depending. The addition of an aircraft museum means it's not all toy soldiers. I am pleased, however, that it surpassed your expectation. Speaking of shows though, I have noticed that Smoggycon is having a bit of an anniversary this year so there is no charge for punters. Not sure how that will work for trade stand prices or whether the organisers are taking the hit and just breaking even without the additional door take. Then again, Leon has been quite public with attendance numbers so it will be interesting to see if free entry will increase footfall. Not that is any guide to trader performance.

  5. After the debacle of 2015 it needs something to gee it up. I recall a show in Leeds back in the late 90s or maybe a little later where there was free entry- "Suppose the gave a free War and Nobody came". It was actually the kiss of death for that event. Also I suspect Leon is already in profit before the door money is factored in- though this may cut his margins a bit. Then there is still his trade stand take on the day as well.

  6. I will be there and quite looking forward to it.