Industry reluctant to revive Game Fair

CLA 2013The CLA has appealed to other organisations to help save the CLA Game Fair, but enquiries by Gun Trade News reveal that associations and fair organisers are reluctant to take on the fair, with some favouring replacing it altogether.

The fair has been cancelled for 2016, with the CLA admitting the event has made massive losses for years and blaming “an increasingly crowded calendar of outdoor events.”

Pressed on what the scale of the Game Fair’s losses were, the CLA’s Shane Brennan said they amounted to “hundreds of thousands of pounds”.

The fair’s only hope for survival is if another organisation takes it on. So far, no organisation has said it would take up the Game Fair mantle.

Andrew Gilruth of the GWCT said: “I wouldn’t feel comfortable with any one organisation racing in and saying, ‘We’re going to run it.’ We run the Scottish Game Fair, which breaks even and we’re very proud of it, but it’s a much smaller affair.”

BASC, which runs the Gamekeepers Fair at Catton Park, made a statement saying it “looked forward to contributing to the consultation” but stopped short of committing to any involvement in future fairs.

The most concrete plans so far have come from Countryman Fairs, which said it was in consultation about starting a new event in July 2016 that would “replace” the CLA Game Fair. Countryman’s Ian Harford dismissed the idea of reviving the Game Fair in its current form: “It’s just too risky. I don’t think any society or association in good financial standing is going to want to throw their money into it.”

Gun Trade News spoke to John Allison of FRL Media, which runs the British Shooting Show. He said FRL had been approached to contribute to the consultation, and he was “interested” about being involved in the future of the fair, but did not express any definite plans.

Gun Trade News also understands that a consortium of former game fair employees and contractors, led by Ian Millward, has bid to take on the show – though details of exactly who is involved, and what offer has been made, have not been disclosed.
The CLA said it was considering offers from various parties. Director of external affairs Shane Brennan said: “We have been speaking with a number of organisations and individuals and we have written to those that have expressed interest to ask them to provide more details. We would expect to receive this further information in the coming weeks, and we will do what we can to help if there are suitable proposals.”

 

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