The Board of Directors of the Great Dorset Steam Fair event has regretfully announced that there will be no fair next year, but it will return over August Bank Holiday weekend in 2024.
After conducting a thorough review of this year's show, even though it was a fantastic and resounding success as a spectacle, it experienced significant and spiralling increases in contractor and infrastructure costs, and the costs associated with meeting the requisite regulatory and statutory compliances that go with operating such a large-scale event.
Because the Great Dorset Steam Fair is such a big show, it incurs large costs. More significantly, those costs have seen a disproportionate increase this year and crucially, in the current economic climate, are very difficult to forecast for next year.
The whole event industry is still experiencing the harsh financial repercussions caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Those, together with the aftermath of Brexit and the war in Ukraine, have resulted in disproportionate cost increases for staff, contractors, fuel, transport, materials, and equipment hire. It is likely that 2023 will see a further increase in prices which, compounded by the current cost of living crisis, will no doubt have a negative effect on consumer confidence and spending in the event industry.
Given the success of this year's event, the Board of Directors appreciates that the decision will come as a surprise to many. As organisers of a large-scale major event, they are acutely aware of the financial unknowns moving into 2023, especially as further cost increases are likely and the fair's regular customers, exhibitors, and traders are also feeling the financial squeeze.
The reality is that running the fair next year would be financially challenging when there is still the ongoing economic situation, rises in inflation, and a cost of living crisis. Under these circumstances, it would not be prudent or sensible to hold the show next year, and to safeguard and preserve the fair's future the board believes that it is the right decision to enable a high-quality event to be staged in 2024 and beyond.
The Board of Directors extend their thanks to everyone who supported this year's event, and look forward to seeing everyone again between 22nd and 26th August 2024. Tickets for the 2024 event will be on sale from autumn 2023.