Martin Dare: Is it Scotland’s time to shine?

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MartinDareOrganisers should look north of the border, as Martin Dare, managing director of Rural Projects, and National Outdoor Events Association member, suggests that the events industry is London-centric…

There were some great networking opportunities at the recent National Outdoor Events Association Convention. The event reinforced the “regional variation” that exists in the UK. Of course, that might be a reason why there’s a referendum on Scottish independence approaching! The events industry is no different. Looking at things from north of the border the industry appears very London-centric and that does cause frustration at times.

I enjoyed experiencing the post Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 high that existed and I am pleased that the UK industry might gain strength from last year’s successes. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that feel good factor has not had the same impact north of the border. The commercial benefits from 2012 are less obvious. Scottish events that coincided with the Jubilee weekend or Olympic Super Saturday weekend suffered predictable consequences and while most suppliers were great in showing loyalty to long-term customers some abandoned us smaller operators for the one off Olympic pay out.

Scotland has an active events scene but it operates on a different scale. You only have to look at occasions when England-based organisers have tried to apply their scales of operation to the Scottish market to know that approach isn’t going to work.

Of course, it is easy to sit on the sidelines and complain but I want to convey a more positive message. It is up to the Scottish events industry to put itself on the map and win contracts here in Scotland and elsewhere. NOEA is working hard to promote the industry and the Scottish Events Awards is always a great occasion, but since the demise of QD’s Main Event I feel a platform for the industry to present itself in Scotland has been absent.  I would like to see that change and with the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup in 2014 maybe there is an opportunity for Scotland to have its turn tin the spotlight.