Great Yorkshire Show set to make £2m loss

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The organiser of the Great Yorkshire Show has told Stand Out that it is set to make an overall loss of £2 million following the cancellation of the event.

The Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate, opened on July 10, however ground conditions and poor weather forced the organising team to cancel the following two days of activity and trading planned for July 11 and 12.

Nigel Pulling, chief executive, Great Yorkshire Show, explained: “Four days before the show opened, our car parking contractor, Special Events Parking, looked at our car parking and said that a couple would not be usable. At this point, we put in extra tracks to guarantee that car parks would be usable and also looked for contingency car parking.

“The first day of the show was successful but it bucketed it down at 4pm and then we got reports that people were getting stuck in the mud. A lot of the car parks we relied upon on day one would not be operable on day two. We assessed the situation and knew that on day two we would not have enough car parking space to accommodate those who had bought a ticket in advance, and so we took the decision to cancel at 6pm.”

Pulling and his team are now in the process of reimbursing traders and have agreed to refund two-thirds of their fees, which will cost the event £700,000.

Pulling continued: “We have had a rotten summer. Most people on the ground knew how bad things were and have been very supportive, and so our offer to reimburse two-thirds of fees has gone down relatively well. But because of the weather shows are not getting their normal crowd numbers and so sales for them are down.”

The show, which has never been cancelled in its 154-year history, did not have any wet weather insurance. Wet weather insurance is something Pulling has looked at in the past but it “never looked that attractive”.

“We will be reviewing everything,” concluded Pulling. “There’s no simple answer and you cannot say that we’ll do X and all of our problems will disappear. Every year we improve drainage. Next year we will allocate more budget to drainage and simply step up our programme. We will review the car parks and see what improvements we can make.”