The recently re-incarnated Yeovil Show which has three successful years under its belt to date, is to follow in Glastonbury’s footsteps and take a fallow year in 2019.
According to the organisers, however, the reasons are not to do with the quality of the ground but the recent sale of Aldon Park. The park, which is adjacent to the Showground and has provided parking space for several events hosted by the Yeovil Showground and was the home for the Aldon Horse Trials for over 40 years, changed hands on the first January. There has been much speculation over the future use of the land and organisers of the Yeovil Show have been negotiating with the new owner over continued use for the Yeovil Show car parking but have yet to reach an agreement.
‘Our team of over 200 amazing volunteers have worked incredibly hard to produce three fantastic Yeovil Shows. We don’t want to compromise the Show, or the efforts of our team, by going forward with the 2019 Show under uncertain circumstances. There is a great deal of planning that goes into each Show and having the fundamentals in place before this starts is essential. Sadly, we have not yet been able to reach an agreement with the new owners at Aldon Park and so cannot commit to a 2019 Show.’ said Graham Murgatroyd, Yeovil Show’s Showground Director.
Graham, who has volunteered in the Show sector for many years and knows everything there is to know about staging an event of this magnitude explained: ‘Our Show uses the whole of the Showground, in addition to this we need to provide safe and convenient parking for up to 5,000 vehicles per day. We make use of several adjoining fields to accommodate this, but Aldon Park provides the biggest and most accessible parking area. Our traffic management plan must be approved by Highways and South Somerset District Council so changes this to this must be well thought out, ensuring safety for our visitors and minimal disruption to other road users. We do expect there to be a satisfactory outcome but there is no guarantee that this will be in time for the 2019 Show and we simply don’t want to take a risk.’
The team, under Graham’s leadership, and with Alice Edmonds as its new Show Manager, will focus its attention on planning for the 2020 show, the dates for which have already been confirmed as Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th July.
This is the latest in a series of announcements from organisers of events at the Yeovil Showground. In July this year the Batten family confirmed that the Aldon Horse Trials, which took place in March and October each year, would cease to run after 40 years due to sale of the land at Aldon. Then in October the team behind the Wessex Truck Show announced there would be no Show in 2019 due to ongoing issues with the Yeovil Showground. The cancellation of the 2019 Yeovil Show adds a fourth major event lost from the Showground this year.
Graham Murgatroyd added ‘I am delighted that I have now been appointed to join the committee that runs the Yeovil Showground. There are challenges ahead but I am determined to see improvements made in the running of the Showground that will ensure that we can continue to host large scale events. The Showground is a major asset to the town and needs investment in its infrastructure to enable it to provide a first-class outdoor venue. This will help secure the long-term future of events like the Yeovil Show and Wessex Truck Show and enable us to attract new events to the town’.