We discover how the renowned Bath & West Showground can cater for North-based event professionals.
As the largest events venue in the South West region, the Bath & West Showground is hosting an exciting full programme of events and meetings across its acres of countryside and improved modern infrastructure. Head of Commercial Sales, Charly Andrews, tells us what’s next in store as the venue plans to expand its outreach to the Northern events sector.
What can event profs expect from the Showground?
We sit on 240 acres of beautiful countryside, and the event space options are quite special. Planners can choose between our Conference Suites, our Rural Hub hot desk room, and our Wessex Pavilion which features an upstairs and downstairs space. These rooms have a real modern feel and can accommodate delegate numbers of up to 500, with most fitted with their own projector and screen to make things as easy as possible for our clients.
Delegates can expect some real wow factor when greeted by the countryside which surrounds us. We have ample outside space including a gorgeous woodland area, crystal clear lake, and a large exhibition area to accommodate anything and everything a planner could want. Our various types of catering are all sourced from local suppliers, and we work closely with team building companies to add creativity to meetings, whether it’s having a Segway activity, inflatable assault course, or even a competitive round of It’s a Knockout!
What events are you most looking forward to hosting this year?
As cliché as it sounds, I couldn’t possibly pick just one! The busy summer season is coming up, and I can’t wait to see the events team pull together and prove the venue’s versatility. There’s a quick changeover between the events on our programme, and after kicking off with the flagship Royal Bath & West Show, the venue will seamlessly become host to an antiques fair, a campsite for Glastonbury festival goers, and home to the NASS festival in July.
Are any special measures in place at the venue to prepare for outdoor events?
Our strong estates team takes real pride in how the Showground looks, with an old fashioned and hands-on approach to making improvements around the venue, whether that’s smoothing out gravel, redecorating toilet facilities, or controlling the weeds. The team also work in the beautiful arboretum on site, using tree clippings to create pathways, and herd the venue’s dedicated flock of sheep which work as a natural fertiliser and keep the ground compact!
What can the Showground provide for North-based event profs?
You never know when an event wants to be located elsewhere, and the feeling to explore other locations presents itself! The South West really is a beautiful part of the country, and so you never know who might be interested in moving their event around! Our large outdoor space also presents camping opportunities for the summer, so I would encourage event professionals to consider the possibility of travelling that extra bit further and making the most of their next event.
How has the Showground adapted to the current challenges facing the events industry?
By being fair, flexible, and human. Everyone has had a difficult couple of years, both professionally and personally. Being tough with people just isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’s all about talking to people as individuals, understanding their needs, and working together to come up with a solution that works for both sides. The Showground also became a mass vaccination centre during the pandemic, which gave the team a real sense of purpose and provided vital support when it was really needed. There was a great sense of pride in helping the local community and we are very grateful that our space could be utilised during such a difficult time.
What are your future goals for the Bath & West Showground?
I see the events side of our business really growing over the next couple of years, as people want to return to some form of normality and – let’s face it – get together and have some fun! We have so many ideas on how we can bring the Showground to life by bringing the city and countryside together and becoming the beating heart of events in Somerset. The history of this venue and the beautiful countryside that we are nestled in is really special. I can’t wait to watch it grow!