Richard Burgoin, MD of Arthur Swallow Fairs, probably echoed the feelings of many in the trade when he said it was a blow that non-essential retail in England must wait until April 12 at the earliest to reopen.
However, he is delighted that he has the go-ahead for Swallow’s midweek antiques and home show at the Lincoln Showground on Wednesday, April 14 – a date change from the announced Wednesday, April 7. Swallow also plans pop-up drive-in short-notice antiques markets at the showground.
The regular one-day antiques and salvage market will go ahead on Saturday, April 24, at the Cheshire Showground where its three-day salvage shows are cancelled for 2021.
Organisers of showground fairs not only need the venue’s sanction to hold Covid-secure events but local authorities also must be on board.
B2B Events director Helen Yourston said this week that its popular Malvern fleamarket held at the Three Counties Showground has been put back from Easter Monday, April 5, to Sunday, April 25, but that confirmation is awaited from the local council.
She said: “We are also awaiting council news on the format for our Detling antiques and vintage market at the Kent County Showground in April.
“If inside pitches are permitted there may be a limit on the numbers of visitors allowed inside. If this is the case, then we must decide if the figure is viable for us to continue with inside stands at the two-day event planned for Saturday and Sunday, April 17-18. If the market is held outdoors then it’s a one-day event on April 18.”
Adams looks to July
It’s a long game planning fairs ahead post-lockdown as Matthew Adams of Adams Antiques Fairs is finding.
He said: “I have been in discussions with both the Royal Horticultural Hall and Chelsea & Kensington Council about a return to events post-June 21 when the final sectors of the economy reopen.
“It’s still too early to plan anything with 100% certainty but I am hoping that the first date back for antiques fairs at the Royal Horticultural Hall will be July 4, and that the first Frock Me vintage fashion fair will run at Chelsea Town Hall on July 18.’’
Adams added: “I suspect that the numbers of visitors will be depleted for a while until full international travel is allowed but I hope that what we may lack in foreign visitors is made up by domestic buyers clamouring to get back into the fray. Only time will tell.”
A typical ‘Horti’ would have around 140 exhibitors and 700-1200 visitors, with Frock Me attracting 2000-3000 visitors buying from 60 stallholders.