I hope you all enjoyed reading through the September edition of Forestry Journal with Roger Fitter’s recollections of past APF demos and last month’s excellent #APFthatneverwas catalogue?

Many thanks to all the team at FJ for pulling this together. There are many more stories we can tell from previous shows and perhaps I shall recount a few at some stage.

I was sitting in my office on 24 September, the supposed opening day of APF 2020, and looking out at a perfect blue sky, warm sun, reflecting on the Indian summer we were having and the perfect conditions it would have been for running the demo. But there is little point in feeling sorry for ourselves and what might have been.

APF 2020 is behind us and we are now fully focused on APF 2021 on the 23/24/25 September next year.

Forestry Journal:

Our exhibition director and chief co-ordinator Chris Inglis and Mark Steele have had some very constructive talks with our hosts at Ragley Estate and agreed the key points for next year. Running a large event on a temporary site is not just a case of turning up a couple of weeks beforehand and laying some tracking and putting up a few tents. Ragley Estate is a large commercial enterprise and needs to make all its assets generate income. We normally agree with the estate at least two years in advance over dates as they need to plan in crop rotation. We use nearly 50 ha of land for the demo, which was sown for grass just for us and the income from grass is less than they would expect from a crop of wheat. Fortunately, we have built up an excellent working relationship with the estate over the years and have agreed a way forward. We are already talking about APF 2023!

Forestry Journal:

The dreaded COVID-19 is still, obviously, very much in our thoughts. The rules seem to change almost weekly and the new tier system seems to do little but confuse people. As I write this, our Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and northern friends are about to be locked down again, with vague promises of perhaps allowing families to meet up for Christmas. The rule of six still applies in London, yet concerts are planned for the O2 arena and the Royal Albert Hall with up to 4,600 people! Can anyone explain that to me?

READ MORE: Forestry Journal brings you the #APFThatNeverWas

We know our team can put on APF 2021 successfully. We are in contact with all our suppliers, checking they are still able to supply us in 2021. Exhibitors who have already booked and visitors have all been very supportive. I would liken our position to being in the starting gate of a race. We are ready and primed to go, we just need the starter to wave his flag.

Forestry Journal:

We are fortunate in having built up our reserves in anticipation of a wet demo and the extra costs involved. Like everyone else, we never planned for a cancellation due to COVID. Quite a bit of the work we carried out this year and costs incurred will have to be repeated next year. Our rainy day fund means we can weather the storm until we are allowed to stage the event again. Much credit should be given to our team for continuing with the planning process when their incomes have been affected by the show not taking place.

Forestry Journal:

Anyway, APF 2021 is now very much open for business. Gratifyingly, we are getting enquiries about exhibiting at APF 2021 and visitors are buying tickets online. We already have over 175 exhibitors booked in and ready to go.

The #APFthatneverwas catalogue was well received and has proved a great help in keeping the momentum going towards APF 2021. Our social media posts have been very popular, featuring the work of the chainsaw carvers and now our series on woodland craftspeople. The competitions are ongoing with some really excellent prizes from training courses to chainsaws, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

As we head towards the end of the year, let us keep our fingers crossed for 2021.

We are ready to roll – are you?

If you have any queries about the APF, please contact 01428 723545 or email info@apfexhibition.co.uk

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Thanks – and stay safe.