How the Nairnshire Show should be developing?

July 22, 2009 · Filed Under Business, Nairn 

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Sad to see that the Nairnshire Show isn’t simply repeatedly it’s Auldearn location, but is also now charging £10 for adults to enter this year, plus £5 parking.

We caught the Nairnshire Show in 2007, and it proved a nice way to get the family out. A simple walk to the show field, visit the stalls, see the animals – a community event.

That’s something the organisers seem to have not understood.

Sure, the primary aim is that of a farmer’s show, and if we’re not buying livestock, we’re not a core part of the business.

However, with a number of stalls and local companies actively advertising themselves at the show, it seemed to expand beyond direct farming issues and be a general – um, Nairnshire Show.

The move to Auldearn made it less convenient (though we saw plenty of people walking there) but this years entrance fee suggests the show could be dying – certainly as a community event.

The complaint from organisers is that the show needs to make money, but you don’t turn an event into a commercial success simply by continually raising the entrance fee – especially without offering something else to compensate.

Suggested solutions for the Nairnshire Show

Here’s what I think the Nairnshire show should be doing:

1. Connect with the Visit Nairn Tourism Society, to ensure the event can tap into tourism interests in a constructive way;

2. Connect with local businesses, to seek compromise ways to allow sponsorship and advertising opportunities to increase revenues further;

3. Expand the remit of the Nairnshire Show, so that rather staying entirely focused on immediate agricultural interests, allow for related interests (for example, use of organic and green technologies and skills – cf the building of the roundhouse at Auldearn Primary this month);

4. Create a more child-oriented element through additional child interest features, to encourage the show as a great day out for families, and as an alternative to other venues

The resulting suggestions would aim to increase attendance by making it a feature day out that caters for a wider range of interests, while attempting to raise revenues through increased use of different channels.

Heck, the show takes place during the school summer holidays, and many parents know their children can drive them up the walls during this period unless they are constantly distracted. But parking and entrance fees need justifying against alternatives to make it attractively worthwhile.

After all, if the Nairnshire Show really is to be a community event, shouldn’t the organisers therefore look to engage the community more, instead of giving the impression of retreating?


31 Responses to “How the Nairnshire Show should be developing?”

  1. Sophie Holt on July 22nd, 2009 2:31 pm

    I agree, £10 is scandalous. Even the Highland Show in Inverness last weekend was only £7.

  2. Lisa Kelly on July 24th, 2009 7:00 pm

    We have just been talking about going to the Nairn show this year.

    I was not keen as I did not like the move to outside Nairn but I am all for supporting the community so I said I would go.

    I have just seen the entrance fee and parking £25.00 will go a long way to fund a family day out.

    Sorry Nairn Show but we will not be coming nor will we enter the honey competition.

  3. Ron on July 25th, 2009 7:45 am

    I have to agree…

    10 pounds for entrance fee to watch a show that seems to get worse by the year..The warm expensive beer is hardly an attraction either..

    I would much rather sit in the Seaforth where i can get value for money…

  4. David MacArthur on July 25th, 2009 11:13 pm

    I’ve been going to the Nairn show since I was born. My family have a very long history in the livestock competitions held there and even most of us wont be attending this year.

    I’ve always been one for helping out the community a few years back when we needed a giant tree planted for the woodcarvings in the ring I was one of the ones who put it there. Most people there were members of the community just there to help out.

    I loved the show growing up. I think I pestered my parents for money to enter a competition for a teddy at every stall.

    I’m getting to the stage in life when children might be in my future and I worry that they will never get that type of a community feel from the show anymore.

  5. Gloria on July 26th, 2009 11:38 pm

    Hi – I am definitley complaining about the cost of the Nairn Show. I have been going to the Show since my childhood, but how many local kids will miss out on that experience because it is too expensive to go to today?

    I have also entered in to the craft section so to obtain half price entry, but my cross stitch is as well staying on the wall.

    How many kids know that a chip comes from a potato, far less that milk comes from a cow?

    My grand daughter is one of the cheerleaders providing the entertainment in the smaller side ring, so Granny here, plus mummy, daddy, and other interested family relations will have to pay the £10 plus £5 for the car for the privilege of watching MY grand daughter entertain show goers! It’s scandalous.

    Without the free ‘entertainers’ there wouldn’t have much of a side show attraction!! Tai chi, uni cycles, cheer leaders … – how much do they cost? Nothing!

    There does not appear to be a major attraction this year, such as motor bikes or whatever.

    All in all I think £10 to get in plus £5 to park your car is a rip off – you will lose a lot of your local punters.

  6. Anne on July 31st, 2009 10:53 am

    oooh the Inverness Games were only £7 were they? well I’m sure with tons of council funding their infrastructure costs will only be a fraction of what a show must cost to run. Think of all those tents, they’re all smart safe ones so they cost a packet to hire, all that safety equipment, Nairn show looks far + away the best of it’s size. Don’t want to pay to park? – take the shuttle minibus or a service bus number 10, right past the gate. I’m delighted there’s so much local entertainment (“community involvement” aye?), the Young Farmers Knock-Out last year was great and much more entertainment this year. Children now free, used to just be pre-schoolers. Or pay membership to help their show and get in free, but come on – don’t just stay home & moan, there are few enough major events in Nairn (oops sorry – a mile outside – again surely safer) these days.

  7. Anne on July 31st, 2009 2:02 pm

    Me again, meant to add earlier – £10/£5/free for entry for 8 hours (9-5) – depends what you want to compare it to.
    Here’s some other local activities eg 90mins film @ cinema £7.50ish last time I went, 90mins Highland League football match £7 adult, visiting a castle £8 adult, show at Eden Court £14-25, jazz concert £6-15.
    Seems fine in comparison then, for a once-a-year thing, but hey you might miss something at the Seaforth Ron – only another 364 days in the year you could go there!

  8. Gloria on July 31st, 2009 7:22 pm

    Hi There

    I might be wrong, but I thought it cost £15 per annum to be a ‘friend’ of the Nairnshire Farming Society, so you aren’t exactly getting in for nothing, are you? Just paying the same as the rest of Joe Public – £10 to get in and £5 to park … The only difference being you get a badge to wear and flash at the guy on the gate.

  9. Gloria on August 2nd, 2009 7:55 am

    Hi There

    Just to say I went to the Show to watch my grand-daughter perform with the cheerleaders in a ring that was far too small for them and also for the uni-cyclists.

    She netted them 8 adults, 2 concessions and 4 cars, a total of £110. Not bad for a four year old, eh? And her mum paid the full price to get in!

  10. E.Maree on August 2nd, 2009 5:52 pm

    I went to the show!

    It was good fun, but if the lady at the ticket booth hadn’t insisted I was a concession and should get a student ticket (that lady was lovely), I would be a bit miffed about the price.

    Did anyone else have difficultly finding the second ring? We were going to go to see the Tai Chi and Unicycling but couldn’t spot where it was. Or maybe we were dazzled by all the stalls filled with often tacky and yet mysteriously compelling goods.

    We didn’t buy any real ‘take home’ goods, but some of the food and sweets available were wonderful.

    However, it was the dog and childrens races (separate races, though the dog parade did have a little girl on a leash), complete with an announcer unafraid to insult everyone and swear rampantly, that were the absolute highlights of the show!

  11. Mary on August 3rd, 2009 7:23 pm

    Ask you granddaughter how much the cheerleaders and unicylists are receiving from the show towards their groups. You might be surprised. Don’t forget to tell everyone when you have the answer.

  12. Mary on August 3rd, 2009 7:27 pm

    As a member of the Tai Chi Society, I can tell you that they are very happy to do free displays to promote the benefits of Tai Chi.

  13. Mary on August 3rd, 2009 7:35 pm

    Gloria, me again. Farming Society members receive other benefits, not just getting in to the show for free. I’m sure that if you contact the society, they will give you all the correct information and you can then share it with all the readers of this blog, instead of writing things that are not correct.

  14. Gurnmeister on August 3rd, 2009 10:05 pm

    Pity Tilda couldn’t have pulled in on the day?

  15. Gloria on August 4th, 2009 7:19 am

    Hi There

    I don’t think a four year old would have knowledge of such information and I believe there is no coaching for her this week.

    As suggested I have contacted the secretary of the Farming Society and wait a response. I did say I ‘might’ be wrong in what I said.

    I hope I am pleasantly surprised on the outcome.

  16. Mary on August 4th, 2009 5:37 pm


    No, I wouldn’t expect your 4 yr old grand-daughter to know. I’ve been asking around as a friend’s group helped out there last year. She tells me that the show gives substantial donations to community groups who assist with the show and the dance that follows. So I am sure that the two youngster groups will have been treated in the same way. I think this is very commendable, i.e. giving these youngsters the oppotunity to show what they can do and then giving a donation to them to help them and others like them to continue.

  17. Gloria on August 4th, 2009 6:23 pm

    Please see below the reply from the Farming Society …

    Thank you for your enquiry. To enable me to deal with your query in the best manner, could you please read the following and send your reply.

    Were you enquiring about membership because you wish to become a member? Our members are normally proposed at committee level. If you are wishing to become a member, I can direct you to a committee member who will be able to discuss the matter with you. If you are proposed and seconded, your membership will then be dealt with by our membership secretary.

    If your query is just a general one, please could you advise me who suggested contacting me for information and why you require the information. If you are, for example a member of the press or other media contact and intend to publish information about the society, I am sure that I can organise a proper interview with a senior member of our committee.

    Kind regards
    Trisha Roberts

  18. Brian Turner on August 4th, 2009 7:41 pm

    That’s quite a long-winded statement – does that means membership isn’t normally promoted for public joining? :)

  19. Mary on August 5th, 2009 10:34 am

    I would take it to mean eactly what it says. It sounds as if the secretary is trying to helpfully ensure that the query is dealt with correctly. I suspect that membership of all societies is directed to a committee. I don’t understand your problem with this. What did you send back in reply Gloria or is this to be a one sided statement? Did you find out about the donation? How much was it?

  20. Brian Turner on August 5th, 2009 10:40 am

    “I suspect that membership of all societies is directed to a committee.”

    It was earlier suggested that membership of the society could be of benefit to people looking to regularly attend the Nairn Show, but if it requires a committee to approve members, it does not sound like they promote general public membership. Many groups seeking general public membership simply require an application form and a joining fee. That’s all. :)

  21. Mary on August 5th, 2009 11:17 am

    The suggested benefit was from someone who obvously didn’t know about the society otherwise she wouldn’t have had to write and ask, then try to find fault with the reply. It sounds to me as if the society is open to members who had reasons to join. Why would any old member of the public want to join societies in which they have no interest and why would a society want members who didn’t share their interests. It seems obvious to me that if I wanted to join a society, I would approach it from wanting to take part in their operation and give something to it not just take away. I would be approaching a committee member to discuss both sides of my membership.
    Like I said, I don’t know what your problem is, unless all you are interested in is trying to find fault.
    From where I’m sitting on one side there is a society of people who work very hard to put on a show for the public. From the information that I have gathered from local people in the last few days. The society has been in existance for over 200 years. They give donations to a variety of local groups from show and society funds. The cost of the show is met from the funds from the same. It doesn’t go anywhere ese. All those poeple at the show are volunteers and are working to provide a community event.
    On the other side are a tiny handful of people trying to find fault in this.
    I know which side I’m looking at and that is the side of those who are giving something to the community.

  22. Brian Turner on August 5th, 2009 11:28 am

    “Why would any old member of the public want to join societies in which they have no interest and why would a society want members who didn’t share their interests.”

    Well, you’ve made the point that the Nairn show is a community event, and that there are concessionary rates for members to enter the show – therefore it stands to reason that there is an obvious potential benefit in encouraging members of the community to join the society, even if their only contribution is to turn up at the annual shows.

    I’m sorry, Mary, but your response comes across as churlish – you tell us the society does a lot of good works, and the society tells us it is struggling with the losses from the show. And yet so far the society does not seem to want a closer engagement with the community, and instead is fenced off, and sees no reason to change policy.

    Look at my original post – I’m sympathetic to the society’s concerns about losses and I’ve taken time to make some basic suggestions. I’m a business consultant who charges to provide advice and service to familiar high street brands. I’m giving you feedback for free.

    In the meantime, the society does not seem to have been doing itself any favours with the rising gate fees and is in danger of alienating itself from the community.

    Therefore as a first step, it may be worth reconsidering the society’s position within the community and how it engages, and consider constructive changes to encourage further engagement.

    I’m sure a lot of people in the community around Nairnshow would be happy to see the show continue, and engage with it better.


  23. Gurnmeister on August 5th, 2009 12:05 pm

    The Farming Society sounds a bit like the Allotment Society of which the Gurnmeister is a founder member. Hopefully our society will still be around in 200 years time.
    But to the point, it is actually quite hard to become a member of the allotment society, you either have to have an allotment or a genuine interest in the Society’s raison d’être and modus operandi.
    If too many people without an allotment or an interest in fruit and veg joined then things could perhaps become very silly and go way off track.

  24. Mary on August 5th, 2009 12:11 pm

    I actually don’t see the point in writing further. You’re given correct information and you call it being churlish.
    You change information to make your own statements sound correct when they are not.
    You state that you are sypathetic but your whole initial statement is a critism.
    I support those folk who are doing a grand job in putting on a very good show. I enjoyed the show. The vast number of folk at the show that I talked to were also having a great time. As newcomer to the area, I suggest that you get a bit connected to these local people. There’s plenty of them around.
    If that statement is churlish then I’d rather remain churlish as the mneaning of the word has obviously changed to be supportive of hard working volunteers.
    This is my last post.

  25. Brian Turner on August 5th, 2009 4:10 pm

    “You’re given correct information and you call it being churlish.”

    I didn’t call it churlish – I was referring to this:

    “Like I said, I don’t know what your problem is, unless all you are interested in is trying to find fault.”

    The thread began as a discussion about whether the charges for the Nairn show were reasonable, and I offered some suggestions how the organisers could try and raise revenues.

    I would have hoped there would be something constructive in doing so. :)

  26. Townie on August 5th, 2009 7:57 pm

    so glad the show seemed to be a great success this year and again blessed with wonderful weather, maybe its the Auldearn touch?
    Im disappointment is that when asked if my son and his friends would be getting in free ( they are 14 yrs old) I was told only if they are accompanied by an adult, when I replied that they prob wouldnt be seen dead with me at that age I wa told that they didnt want groups of youths wondering around. I was disgusted my that answer and promptly told the official so. When I was a teenager,many moons ago, my friends and I looked forward to going to the show , not to terrorise the onlookers but to look at the livestock close up, watch the gurkas march at an amazing speed, see the red lions parachute into fraser park when they were blown off course and to be ALLOWED to climb onto tractors etc. This was all because we were “townies” and didnt get the chance to see these things close up things that our classmates chat about 52 wks of the year.
    I hope that the society have a change of mind on this ruling for next year or they will alienate the younger townies.

  27. Show Holly on August 6th, 2009 9:29 am

    I do hope that the show comes back to the “Showfield” Instead of the “Village of the damned”

  28. Paul on August 6th, 2009 1:02 pm

    I suspect that the need for youngsters to be accompanied was more of a Health and Safety issue. Big Agricultural show, means lots of big agricultural machinery. I certainly wouldn’t want my 14 year old going unsupervised with a group of his mates. As it was he went with us and his 12 year old sister. We all had a great time. I really can’t complain about the prices either. I was glad to be able to park the car as it meant that I had somewhere to deposit the wife’s purchases along with the show special crate of beer that I bought. Anyway if we hadn’t wanted to take the car, there was a free bus service running all day from Nairn with any donations going to the Community Transport. That was a great idea. Well done to the organisers. We’ll all be going next year.

  29. nairnbairn on August 7th, 2009 12:10 am

    It was interesting to compare the Nairn Farmers’ Show with this week’s Black Isle Show. The latter is easily 3 or 4 times bigger. It offers a remarkable range of family-targeted entertainment (parachutists, car and motorbike stunts, fire-eating jugglers, kids’ cookery demos…and much more) as well as the usual agricultural-machinery displays and livestock. It delivered what “Townie” sought and remembered, and what the Nairn show seems to have forgotten: the vital opportunity for all, and especially children, to see, touch and learn about farming, food and animals.

    And the other comparison: Black Isle Show entry, £10 (half price for kids), and FREE parking. Doesn’t exactly make the Nairn event look terribly good value for money.

  30. Paul on August 8th, 2009 12:37 pm

    So that was £30 to get in for two adults and two kids…… More expensive then. Were the kids allowed to touch the animals? If so which ones exactly? Was there a free bus service or did just about everyone able to get there by car? How much was your petrol?
    I still think the Nairn Show (on our doorstep) is great value for money and is still ‘growing’ in the new site. Give them chance. The Black Isle show is in a huge established showground and has been big for years. I think it is wrong to compare the two. However, keep knocking the Nairn Show and you might loose the only other Agriculutral Show, emphasis on AGRICULTURAL, in the Highlands. Then there will be just the one.

  31. christine on August 22nd, 2009 8:19 am

    Keep up the good work.
    The show is in a better site, people just dont like changes even if it is for the better.