Julian Agostini: Busking makes the world go round

Last week I was travelling through London with my daughter and we passed by one of the many buskers that liven up the tube network, who was straining out an unmemorable tune.

 

She stopped and dropped some change in the hat, which prompted the following chat:

 

‘I’ve noticed you do that a lot, don’t you?’ I asked.

 

‘Always, actually...if I have change’ she said.

 

‘That’s very good of you.’

 

‘Not really…I think it’s a fair deal’

 

‘Uh?’

 

‘I like the buskers, even if they’re rubbish, they catch my attention, maybe put a tune in my head for the day, break up the journey; anyway they make me smile... easily 50p’s worth of entertainment... sometimes I’ll treat them to a whole pound!’

 

‘Yeah...I get that.’

 

‘Anyway, if people don’t pay them, then there wouldn’t be any buskers and the tube wouldn’t be the same, would it?’

 

‘No, it wouldn’t. I get that too.’

 

So there we all are enjoying the benefits of the buskers, we wouldn’t want them to disappear but the vast majority of us do nothing to support them. Does that sound like any event that you might have run either now or in the past?

 

Exhibitions are the cornerstones of communities; they help to grow the industry they serve, are a vital cog in the wheel of any vertical market and yet they are only ever supported by a fraction of the businesses or people that derive benefit from them. Everybody would suffer if the event disappeared. In theory, everybody in a single industry should automatically and unquestionably support their relevant exhibitions.

 

Unfortunately, that is not the norm; as we know from the childhood story, The Little Red Hen - the little red hen makes the bread and nobody wants to help her but then everyone wants to eat it.

 

In a similar fashion, exhibitions generally produce a beautiful, aromatic hot loaf of bread for all the takers who often come and feast without even a thought that they should do something to support the making of future loaves, let alone this one. Is it time for us to make a stand (if you pardon the poor pun) against this freeloading?

 

For as long as I can remember, potential exhibitors have used the line ‘we’ll come and have a look this year’.

 

A look at what? A hall full of people? How will that help them judge the quality of the audience and anyway, do we really want these people as visitors?

 

Obviously it is important to host prospective clients in the right way but many will be using your show without ever having intention of contributing to it.

 

Yes, an exhibition should be a gathering of the community but everybody in that community should help build that, otherwise the takers just feed off the exertions of the honest workers.

 

Exhibition organisers and exhibitors alike want buyers to visit the exhibition not sellers. The latter are just parasites and we should strive to make them obsolete. It is interesting to see the recent demise of many a design and build company.

 

This is the result of natural selection, the ones who didn’t get it have come a cropper.

 

Is it time to start really enforcing an entrance fee for anybody that does not fit the buyer profile? Exhibitions are a potent force; organisers spend fortunes on building this unique marketing force and it is also very unfair on the exhibitors that get it – why should they be helping to fund those that don’t?

 

So next time you walk past a busker, remember that everyone else is paying for whatever enjoyment you derive...by the way, I’m a convert now!

 

This article was first published in the December issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne

 

Julian Agostini
Posted by Julian Agostini
PopularComments
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

Media 10 summer party gives back to the community

On 30 June, local pensioners were invited to a morning of live entertainment and high tea put on by Media10, with a fundraising initiative supporting charity War Child and a rare Spitfire performance.

Comexsposium to acquire organiser MFV

Comexposium Group has announced its entry into an agreement to acquire the group MFV, organiser of The Franchise Show in London.

Fashion SVP portfolio expands with new launches

Fashion sourcing event Fashion SVP, currently held at Olympia, is being extended with a series of new initiatives and launches, taking it further into international markets.

Others on EN

Going all out

Going all out

Lee Moulson, regional head of sales at Cheltenham Racecourse and the South West region of The Jockey Club, says seeing a client’s beaming smile cannot be bettered.
In any event...

In any event...

In his regular column, David Chalmers, Cvent ’s senior marketing director – Europe, speculates on the fate of the large trade show.
Ticking all the boxes

Ticking all the boxes

Paul Edwards, operations director at deckle edge, examines the minefield that is health and safety.

Poken by GES

Most Read Stories

Fit for the 21st century

Fit for the 21st century

Andrew Harrison, ESSA director, says we should always fight to bring talent into the industry and encourage an appetite for success.
I'm a believer

I'm a believer

Sam Cande, group commercial director at Centaur Media, says no secret sales technique can compete with belief in a product.
Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry, director of Easyfairs UK addresses the science behind operations and the profile of our audiences.

Latest News

UFI and Explori sign three-year partnership

UFI and Explori sign three-year partnership

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has signed a three-year research partnership deal with London based insight specialists, Explori.
Media 10 summer party gives back to the community

Media 10 summer party gives back to the community

On 30 June, local pensioners were invited to a morning of live entertainment and high tea put on by Media10, with a fundraising initiative supporting charity War Child and a rare Spitfire performance.
Major new event campus coming to Newcastle Gateshead

Major new event campus coming to Newcastle Gateshead

A new multi million pound, state-of-the-art entertainment arena, and conference and exhibition centre is set for the North East, as plans by Gateshead Council push forward.

Latest Features

Ripping up the rule book

Ripping up the rule book

Automechanika is a well-known global brand, so what happened when it launched in the UK?
On the road

On the road

Ed Vickery head of drpexhibition, discusses driveable, portable, and innovative exhibitions.
Standing out from the crowd

Standing out from the crowd

EN meets the industry’s stand designers, who are helping change the face of exhibitions around the globe.

Latest Galleries

East of England Arena and Events Centre open day

East of England Arena and Events Centre open day

Following a refurbishment, rebrand and £4.4m investment, the East of England Arena and Events centre opened to event professionals on 21 June to explains developments at the venue and provide an insight into future plans. Guests were also treated to a once in a lifetime experience in various classic cars and more unusual vehicles.
London Dungeon Lates

London Dungeon Lates

The London Dungeons has launched a unique nighttime experience with the theme of the seven deadly sins. The adults only tour includes seven themed food offerings and a range of themed drinks.
This Morning Live

This Morning Live

Tens of thousands of fans descended on the NEC on 18-21 May for This Morning Live, to see talent from ITVs award-winning daytime programme arrive in style.