“The Bath and West Showground is a real gem and event organisers heaven,” said Debbie Howarth, commercial enterprise manager at the venue.
Nestled in the heart of the beautiful Somerset countryside, the site sits in 240 acres of outside space including four miles of hard standing roads and tracks infrastructure, incorporating ample parking for in excess of 12,000 vehicles.
Five vast spacious indoor pavilions of varying size regularly accommodate exhibitions, livestock shows, music events, festivals and as a first for 2019, comedy nights. The 115-seat theatre proves a useful and well used addition to the portfolio of facilities with a hospitality lounge above. There are also three more minor standalone buildings available for smaller events and requirements.
A recent addition to the site is the new Rural Enterprise Centre, providing adaptable facilities for meetings, conferencing and training space. This new space includes a fully kitted out and catering standard development kitchen, available for hire by the hour or day to encourage the wealth of small local and rural food producers operating in the region to develop their products on a larger scale.
The showground is home to a variety of spectacular and established events which showcase the flexibility of the space. These events include:
NASS Fest – produced by Vision Nine Group and another event from its successful portfolio alongside Boardmasters and The Masked Ball.
WestFest – the UK’s largest indoor electronic music festival returning for its 16th year in 2019.
TruckFest South West – organised by Live Promotions and part of their series of Europe’s largest Trucker Festivals.
Homebuilding and Renovation Show – the South West Show is one of eight shows around the country, owned and managed by Future Publishing.
Craft 4 Crafters –a huge three-day exhibition for crafting enthusiasts in full shell scheme over two floors.
South West Motorhome Show – an amazing camping and live music weekend welcoming in excess of 1,500 motorhomes to the site and more than 11,500 square metres of exhibition space, enough to fill nine olympic swimming pools, together with more than 130 traders. This event really does embrace the vast expanse of the outside space.
Mortons Media Group bring four of its market leading classic car and motorcycle shows to the site each year.
South West based Contour Exhibitions kick off the first major game fair of the year with The West of England Game Fair coming to the showground each year, supported by BASC and incorporating clay shooting and gun dog competitions.
This amazingly versatile venue is also home to many other smaller but well established events throughout the year both indoors and out, ranging from antique fairs, specialist collector fairs, flea markets, autojumbles, driver training and car auctions, to name a few.
As would be expected from a significant event venue, the site is well equipped with toilet blocks, electric hook up and Elsan disposal points, bunk room and hostel style accommodation, four log cabins, full lighting and power supply. The flagship Showering Pavilion boasts scope to install tiered seating for 3,000 on ground level and 1,400 at balcony level together with three-phase 150-amp outlets from gantry source making this the ideal arena venue. Wi-Fi facilities are available across the site.
Excitement is brewing at The Bath and West Showground, as dates are confirmed for the multi-talented comedian musician Bill Bailey, bringing his Larks in Transit UK Tour to the region on May 16-17, 2019. Known the world over for his musical virtuosity, surreal tangents and trademark intelligence, the visit of Bath-born Bailey will kickstart a new chapter in the life of the showground as it looks to bring back the nostalgia of yesteryear.
This exclusive two-night run revives a return of high end entertainment to the Shepton Mallet venue, predominately known as the home of annual four day The Royal Bath and West Show, attracting more than 100,000 visitors. The site once embraced an impressive lineup of household names, including Sir Cliff Richards, Dire Straits, Duran Duran, Paul Young and Chris Rea, to name a few and in more recent times, Boyzone, Katherine Jenkins, Peter Andre and James Morrison took to the stage for “The Big Gig” in September 2009. The venue also attracted Prince Naseem and Frank Bruno on separate occasions, as the stars of televised boxing tournaments in front of packed crowds.
An exciting and new large-scale refurbishment project is also currently well underway to create the largest dining and award ceremony function suite in the region, with capacity to seat 500 and 350 for dinner over two levels.
The future is sure looking bright for the “premier events venue in the west of England”.
Picture credit: NASS Festival