In reply to John's question about visitor numbers at Meet. Learn. Celebrate
, they were, frankly, below expectations. There were app 25% more businesses visiting than came to the first event last year, which is somewhat encouraging.
The attendance level is a puzzle for all concerned, as all the exhibitors put on a great show, and a wide range of training and support at various levels was on offer and quite well attended.
A problem we all face is a general lack of innovation in the industry, so there is currently not too much which is new or exciting to see at any show. CMC's have become widely accepted and used, so apart from the steady development of the software and technical details, there is not even too much new there. If that is compared with the imaging trade, there are new cameras and other hi-tech products being introduced continually, so people in that trade simply have to visit shows and events to keep up with the changes.
In the 'good old days' of the Spring Fair, Hall 3 sometimes had 300+ exhibitors, of which 200+ were art publishers. That side of our industry has changed dramatically. However, having recently been in France and popped into a branch of an art and framing retail chain, http://www.Cadrea.fr
, I wonder whether there is a bigger market for middle and lower end art than some realise. (I pose that comment cautiously, as I know almost nothing about art retailing). Certainly, art publishers will be encouraged to exhibit at MLC 2013, with some quite innovative ideas already being discussed.
Given the lack of regular innovation and the fact that it is probably unreasonable to expect most framers and gallery owners to travel more than 100 miles to a trade event, one idea is to alternate MLC between north and south. How would fellow FF members react to the idea of the weekend event being staged in the Yorkshire area in May 2013?